Measles in Maine means half the states in the US now have cases of this highly contagious disease


Maine health officials confirmed the first case of measles in the state, bringing the total number of states reporting the highly contagious viral disease to 25.

The United States is facing the largest number of measles cases in a single year, with 880 individual cases confirmed in 24 states between January 1 and May 17, 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this week. Measles was declared eliminated in the US in 2000.

States reporting measles cases this year are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.

It’s not known where the school-aged child from Somerset County, Maine, became exposed to the disease, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The child had been vaccinated and is now fully recovered from the disease. State health authorities have posted a list of times and locations where people may have been exposed to measles.

Fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes followed by a rash that spreads from the head down are all symptoms of measles. The disease can cause severe health complications including pneumonia, encephalitis (brain swelling), and death. The length of time from exposure to the onset of symptoms is typically 10-14 days, but can be as long as 21 days.

People sick with measles can spread the disease by coughing, touching or even leaving germs behind on surfaces. They are contagious beginning four days before their rash starts and lasting until four days after the rash ends. Anyone with symptoms should contact their health provider and ask for instructions before arriving at the point of care to prevent passing the disease to anyone else.

The recommended two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles, while one dose is about 93% effective. About 3 out of 100 people who get both doses of vaccine will get measles if exposed to the virus. However, they are more likely to have a milder illness, and less likely to spread the disease to other people, according to the CDC.

Anyone potentially exposed to measles should review their vaccine history.


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