Two positive cases of the measles have been confirmed in Shelby County, Tennessee. State and local health authorities are currently investigating, states a report from the Tennessee Department of Health. According to officials, there is no known connection between the two individuals.
The cases have been confined to the Memphis area, with more anticipated. The source of the virus has not yet been identified, and people from Tennessee have been warned to stay alert and watch for symptoms.
Measles, a highly contagious viral disease, can be identified by the following symptoms: reddish, patchy rash, fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spotting around the mouth. Close to 30% of patients affected by the virus end up having pneumonia, diarrhea or ear infections.
John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH and TDH Commissioner, states that most Tennesseans have been vaccinated against measles-mumps-rubella or MMR. The vaccine is readily available across the state. “It takes a very high vaccination rate to protect vulnerable people like infants and people with weakened immune systems from measles,” Dreyzehner says. He adds that everyone should be up-to-date on their measles vaccines, and consult a health care provider immediately upon noticing initial symptoms of the virus.
Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN and Director of the Shelby County Health Department, says that,
Our staff members are working collaboratively with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on this investigation.
She adds, “Additionally, SCHD is working to identify any individuals who have been in contact with the confirmed cases. We urge residents in our community to make sure their vaccinations are up to date.”
According to the TDH website, residents of Tennessee have a high vaccination rate due to cooperation from parents and children. Only 9 cases of measles have been recorded in the state since 2004. These current cases are now under investigation.