Health officials in Indiana are currently working to contain a recent outbreak of measles; the disease has now affected more than a dozen people, in two counties, and more cases are likely to occur as the list of places visited by those affected is discovered to be growing.
Three cases of measles were confirmed this past Tuesday, by the State Department of Health, bringing the total to thirteen cases of the disease. Children and adults have both been affected by this recent outbreak of measles. Additional cases are expected, as the illness has an incubation period of up to three weeks.
This past Tuesday, Noblesville school officials notified school parents that a middle school student likely had a case of measles; the school was then subsequently cleaned in order to contain the illness and stop an outbreak. Sharon Trisler reported that 98 percent of the students in the district had been vaccinated against measles; the district notified students who were not vaccinated in order that they might go about getting the shot, thus preventing more cases of the disease.
A spokesman for the health department, Ken Severson, said all the cases were connected to an initial case, involving an individual exposed by an undiagnosed sibling. Indiana officials have notified health departments in New York and Massachusetts after a Super Bowl visitor was diagnosed; no additional cases have been linked to the Super Bowl exposure thus far, but this could change in the upcoming weeks and is worth keeping an eye on.
The list of sites visited by individuals who have been infected with measles has grown to include eleven discrete places, including grocery stores, a funeral home,health clinics, churches, and others. This year’s outbreak comes a year after Indiana saw 14 cases of measles among unvaccinated individuals last year. The United States sees about 50 cases of this disease per calendar year, and the disease has mainly been eradicated in this region of the world.
Last year, the Center for Disease Control reported 200 nationwide cases. This represents the highest number since the year 1996 and might be considered concerning to some individuals and health organizations. The development of the disease begins with cough-like symptoms, and it escalates into quite a high fever and involves a rash over the entire body of the affected individual. Measles is a highly contagious disease, and people born before 1957—as well as those who have received the vaccination for the disease—are considered immune to it.
Measles is spread through contact with people from other countries, where vaccination rates are lower. Individuals who have a reason to be concerned should keep an eye on this story as more information will be made available as health officials keep track of cases which may develop. Hopefully, they will be able to contain the disease,and the outbreak will not become any worse than it is at present.