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MDHHS urges residents to make sure they are up to date on measles vaccination as more cases diagnosed in Wayne and Washtenaw Counties

In response to the growing number of measles cases, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging residents to make sure they and their family members are up to date on measles vaccinations.

“If you are not vaccinated for measles, get vaccinated as quickly as you can,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “We are seeing increased cases of measles abroad and outbreaks of measles across the United States in the setting of declining childhood vaccination rates. Now measles is in Michigan, and it’s important to make sure you protect yourself from this vaccine-preventable disease.”

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.

Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease that is spread by direct person-to-person contact and through the air. The three cases in Michigan are not connected, which illustrates there are multiple places where you could be exposed to measles.

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.

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.

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

Click here for Dr. Bagdasarian’s message about the measles vaccine.

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