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The state Department of Public Health has confirmed a case of measles in a New Haven county adult, the third confirmed case this year in the state.
Because measles is a highly contagious disease, it can spread quickly among unvaccinated people, the health department warned in a news release Tuesday. However, the majority of people exposed to measles are not at risk of developing the disease since most people have either been vaccinated or have had measles in the past, before vaccination became routine.
“The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated,” Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen said. “While most residents have been vaccinated for measles, it’s important to know your vaccination status and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles so you can get medical attention.”
Symptoms of measles generally begin seven to 14 days after a person is exposed to an infected person. A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and sore throat. Three to five days after the start of these symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears, usually starting on a person’s face at the hairline and spreading downward to the entire body. At the time the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
The rash typically lasts at least a few days and then disappears in the same order. People with measles may be contagious up to four days before the rash appears and for four days after the day the rash appears.
Most Connecticut residents have been vaccinated, but if unsure, check with your physician. People who have had measles in the past or who have been vaccinated against measles are considered immune according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends that children receive their first dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 to 15 months. School-aged children need two doses of MMR vaccine.