Lone measles case puts state on CDC’s watch


Cases of the measles in 21 states, including Indiana, are on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s radar.

Between Jan. 1 and July 14 of this year, the CDC has confirmed that 107 people from those 21 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles. But there is no reason for widespread panic locally, because of those 107 reported cases, Indiana has only one.

That one case has put Indiana under the CDC’s watch.

“Because the measles vaccination has been in place so long, if there is a case of the measles in a state, the CDC monitors the state,” said Megan Wade-Taxter, spokeswoman for the Indiana State Department of Health. She declined to say what region of the state the one case was found; a county must have five confirmed cases before the state health department will release the name of the county, she said.

Along with Indiana and the District of Columbia, the other states the CDC found to have measles cases are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

The CDC tracks cases of measles when there are a number of noted cases. In 2017, 118 people from 15 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles. In 2016, 86 people from 19 states were reported to have measles. In 2015, 188 people from 24 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles.

A record number of cases occurred in 2014, when 667 cases from 27 states were reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The CDC noted this to be the largest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

According to CDC officials, the majority of people who have gotten measles were not vaccinated. Measles is still common in many parts of the world, including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa; as a result, travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the United States.

Dubois County Health Department Administrative Director Donna Oeding said that having cases of the measles in this country is unfortunate, especially since the vaccine is readily accessible.

“This is why having children up-to-date on their immunizations is vitally important,” she said. “The reason the measles hasn’t been widespread is because of great immunization practices.”

A child should get his first measles vaccine at age 1 and the second one upon entering kindergarten, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the national agency that has the standard schedule for immunizations that is widely accepted in the United States. The vaccination covers measles, mumps and rubella.

Why two doses?

“Most people are covered with antibodies after dose one; but some don’t build up antibodies,” said Sue Williams, registered nurse and vaccine coordinator at the Dubois County Health Department. “Because of previous outbreaks years ago, it was determined by ACIP to give a second dose.”

The Indiana Department of Education requires that a child has his first vaccine by age 3 to 5, the time of entering preschool, and both of them when they enter the school system.

For more information or to get vaccinations, call the health department at 812-481-7050. Information can also be found online at www.duboiscountyin.org/departments/health_department.

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