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Michigan experiences first case of measles since 2019

MDHHS recommends measles vaccine for individuals ages 1 year and older

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed a case of measles in an Oakland County child associated with international travel. This is the first confirmed case of measles in the state since 2019. MDHHS is recommending unvaccinated individuals ages 1 year and older receive measles vaccination to protect themselves and those around them.

MDHHS is working closely with the Oakland County Health Division on this case, and at this time there are not thought to be additional exposures outside of the household based on when symptoms began.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones from potential outbreaks of diseases like measles,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “It is important to make sure our families are up to date on all routine vaccines to prevent the spread of severe illness and disease. Now is a great time to check with your health care provider to make sure you are current with all your vaccines.” 

Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease that is spread by direct person-to-person contact, and through the air.

The virus can live for up to two hours in the air where the infected person was present. Symptoms of measles usually begin 7-14 days after exposure, but can appear up to 21 days after exposure and may include:

  • High fever (may spike to over 104˚F).
  • Cough.
  • Runny nose.
  • Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis).
  • Tiny white spots on the inner cheeks, gums and roof of the mouth (Koplik Spots) two to three days after symptoms begin.
  • A rash that is red, raised, blotchy; usually starts on face, spreads to trunk, arms and legs three to five days after symptoms begin.

If symptoms develop, residents are urged to not visit their doctor or emergency room unless they have called ahead so facilities can take precautions to prevent exposure to other individuals.

With the risk for community spread, parents are encouraged to make sure their children are up to date on all their childhood immunizations, including the measles vaccine. Ninety percent of unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to measles will become infected. About one in five people who get measles will be hospitalized. In addition to Michigan’s case, 35 measles cases have been reported in 2024 in 15 other states to date.

Across the United States, routine immunization coverage has dropped. Statewide, vaccine coverage for the MMR (2 doses) vaccine for children ages 4 to 6 years old has decreased from 89.4% in 2017 to 84% in 2022. For children ages 19 through 35 months of age, vaccine coverage has decreased from 84.7% in April 2020 to 83.6% in December 2023.

The measles vaccine is highly effective and very safe. A single dose of measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles, while two doses are about 97% effective. It is also effective if used within 72 hours of a measles exposure to prevent illness. However, some individuals with weakened immune systems may not be eligible to receive this vaccine. Getting vaccinated not only protects the individual receiving the vaccine but can also protect vulnerable individuals in our communities from being exposed to this illness.

Michigan residents can contact their health care provider or visit their local health department for additional information on ways to obtain the vaccine and schedule an appointment. Children eligible for the Vaccines for Children program may receive the vaccine from a provider enrolled in that program.

To learn more about the MMR vaccine, visit  Vaccine for Measles (MMR Shot) | CDC

For more information about Measles cases in the U.S., visit  Measles Cases and Outbreaks | CDC

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