Number of measles cases rising in U.S.

The measles are on the rise in the country. Just recently an out of state traveler with the measles visited Hattiesburg.

Dr. Erica Frank said, “It is really contagious. It is the most contagious virus known to man.”

The number of measles cases is on the rise in the U.S. Even here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we’ve had close encounters with this viral illness. Prior to the recent surge, the measles were eradicated in the United States. “The biggest cause is actually because the number of children being vaccinated in the United States for measles has fallen dramatically in the last five to 10 years.”

Dr. Frank says anyone who is not vaccinated for the measles is at a high risk for catching the illness if exposed to it directly or indirectly. “If you are never immunized you are at a 97 percent chance of getting the measles if you come across someone with the measles. That is not even just direct contact, that is if the person walks through the room anytime in the last two hours.”

Most children do not get the measles vaccine until they are around 12 to 15 months old which Dr. Frank says makes it even more important for the people around them to be healthy. “If you are an adult and have not been vaccinated or you are not sure if you have been, it is never too late. So, I do recommend going to your health care professional or a pharmacy to get that dose and you want two doses to make sure you have extra protection.”

If you have been vaccinated, Dr. Frank says your chances of catching the illness are slim to none, but if you do think you were exposed these are the symptoms to look out for: “It starts out as a fever. It can be high, up to 105. It also starts with common cold type symptoms like runny nose, cough, sore throat, pink eye, draining eyes. It progresses three to five days later into a rash.”

Health officials ask anyone who believes they were exposed to contact their doctor.

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