BREAKING NEWS

Second measles case reported in Iowa

Person connected to recently confirmed case earlier this week

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads through coughing or sneezing. (Dreamstime/TNS)
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads through coughing or sneezing. (Dreamstime/TNS)

A second case of measles has been reported by state public health officials Thursday, among the first appearances of the illness in Iowa since 2011.

An unvaccinated individual in Northeast Iowa was confirmed to have the disease by the State Hygienic Lab this week, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The individual is a household contact of the measles case confirmed earlier this week, who recently traveled to Israel where transmission is occurring. Both individuals were not vaccinated.

Public health officials said the individual was under a public health voluntary confinement order at home to prevent further exposures.

“Because this second measles case has been isolated at home during the measles incubation period, there is no current threat to the general public,” public health officials said.

Cedar Rapids Community School District officials said despite a Facebook post on Wednesday, there have been no confirmed cases within the school district.

Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Polly Carver-Kimm said the department is not aware of any pending measles testing going on related to the post.

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In addition, Linn County Public Health did reach out to schools in the county, and none were aware of any measles cases.

School district officials told The Gazette in an email if a case of measles is reported to the district, they “will communicate that information to parents immediately.”

Measles is a highly contagious and occasionally deadly disease that includes symptoms of inflamed eyes, fever and a red, blotchy skin rash.

In 2000, federal health officials declared they had rid the country of measles. But this past week, federal health officials announced the number of measles cases in 2019 has reached 555 cases across the country — a record high in the past five years.

Ninety of those cases occurred during the second week of April, with 20 states reporting incidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The six current outbreaks in California, New Jersey, New York and Washington state are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries the CDC said.

As of April 11, New York City had reported 229 cases this year. City officials last week declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations in an attempt to halt the outbreak among ultra Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, putting in place the broadest vaccination order in the United States in nearly three decades.

Public health officials are encouraging Iowans to check that their measles vaccinations are up to date.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends doses of the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella at age 12 to 15 months and at four to six years old.

If an individual received the two doses at that time, the vaccine is 97 percent effective at building lifelong immunity, health experts say.

If individuals are unsure if they’ve received the vaccine or if the recommendations have changed during their lifetime, they are encouraged to contact their health care provider.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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