JACKSON, Miss – The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is monitoring four unimmunized Mississippi residents who were exposed to measles in Shelby County, Tennessee. The Shelby County measles outbreak began in early April 2016.
While no cases have been confirmed in Mississippi, MSDH is monitoring these exposed individuals closely. They are under home quarantine and the supervision of a physician. State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs says this is why getting and remaining up to date on vaccinations is critically important.
“Measles is literally knocking at our back door. This is a highly contagious, airborne disease and is easily spread from person to person. Unvaccinated individuals are highly susceptible to infection. This is a potentially deadly virus; infants and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk.”
The MSDH is strongly recommending that Mississippi children 12 months of age or older who are behind on measles vaccination call their primary healthcare provider immediately.
As of yesterday, Tennessee reported six confirmed cases. The Shelby County Health Department has a website listing location sites and times where infected individuals may have exposed others. Mississippi residents who have recently traveled to the area can go to http://www.schdresponse.com/content/measlesoutbreak for more information and instructions. People can get sick up to 21 days after exposure to measles. Mississippi residents with possible exposure should call his or her medical provider immediately if they develop fever or rash within 21 days.
Symptoms of measles include a high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash.
Mississippi healthcare providers have been made aware of the situation; measles is a Class One reportable condition requiring notification to MSDH within 24 hours.
The MSDH is working closely with health partners in Memphis and Tennessee to maintain awareness of this evolving outbreak.
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to media: After hours or during emergencies, call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948)