Measles Cases Continuing to Spread Across U.S., Health Officials Urging Vaccination

A nationwide Measles outbreak continues to raise concern for health officials. Joyce Mann with the Fond du Lac County Health Department says the number of reported cases continues to grow. “We had ten states that originally had measles cases this year. It has jumped from 100 cases a couple weeks ago to 206 cases and now 11 states, including Illinois, and a recent traveler that went through the airports in Chicago.” Mann says Measles can spread rapidly – and the initial symptoms of the disease can be a bit vague. “You start with a fever, then you get a cough and a runny nose, but a tiny rash – it’s not the first symptom and you’re infectious before you develop the rash. So that’s one of the other issues that makes it so perplexing – people who might stay home if they knew they had Measles, don’t realize it is Measles until they’ve already infected other people,” Mann said.

Mann says the best way to prevent against the spread of the disease is to get vaccinated. She says two doses of the vaccine provides 97 percent immunity to the disease. As of the early 2000’s, Measles was thought to have been eradicated from the United States, but in recent years as people are less concerned about the disease some people are opting out of the vaccine, which leads to pockets of the country where the disease can re-appear and spread rapidly.