Marquette, Michigan – Angela Minicuci came on the 8th Day Radio Show to discuss the increasing incidents of measles within Michigan. Specific instances were discussed as well as the great threat those not vaccinated pose to the very young, the very old, and those with medical conditions that make their vaccination impossible. Also discussed during the interview: herd immunity, education, and myths about vaccinations.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) confirmed 15 cases of measles in Michigan in 2018, the highest level the state has seen since 1994 when 26 cases were reported. Now, with the Oakland county breakout, the total cases in Michigan in the first three months at 21 cases, 2019 infections have already overtaken the cases for all of 2018 in Michigan.
[Interview First Broadcast March 23, 2019]
Measles is a vaccine-preventable respiratory infection that can result in hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis and death. The illness has a 10–21 day incubation period and initially presents with a high fever, red eyes, cough, runny nose, photophobia and is followed by a red, raised body rash starting on the head and face that then progresses to the rest of the body. Individuals may be contagious for a few days before they present with symptoms, which increases the potential of exposing others to the infection.
As of Oct. 6, 142 measles cases have been confirmed throughout the U.S. with many of the cases connected to international travel. Measles outbreaks have been reported throughout Western Europe including in Romania, France, Greece and Italy. In addition, Israel’s Ministry of Health recently reported more than 1,300 measles patients, including a toddler who died from the illness. The ministry believes that the disease was imported by tourists and visitors who infected an unvaccinated population, largely among the nation’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.
“The increases in measles cases being reported drives home the importance of being up-to-date on vaccines,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS Chief Medical Executive. “Immunizations are the best way to protect our families and communities from the harmful, sometimes deadly consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.”
Because measles is easily spread, vaccination is the best protection against the disease. Successful prevention and control of measles requires high levels of immunity in all communities, sometimes referred to as “herd immunity.”
The measles vaccine is highly effective and very safe. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of the vaccine. The first of two routine childhood measles vaccine doses is given at 12 months of age. A second vaccine dose is given before the start of kindergarten.
For international travel, infants as young as 6 months should be vaccinated against measles. Measles vaccine, or other acceptable documentation of immunity to measles, is recommended for all persons traveling internationally.
In an effort to help parents protect their children from serious vaccine-preventable diseases, MDHHS is participating in the I Vaccinate campaign. I Vaccinate provides the facts parents need to make informed decisions about vaccinations. For more information about immunizations and the I Vaccinate campaign, visit IVaccinate.org.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Oakland County Health Division have confirmed a case of travel-related measles visiting from Israel following a stay in New York.
Additional sites of potential exposure may be identified as more information becomes available.
Vaccine prophylaxis is effective within 72 hours of exposure. In addition, Immune Globulin (Ig) treatment is effective within 6 days of exposure for high-risk individuals. Talk to your preferred healthcare provider to determine if Ig is right for you and if it is available. High-risk individuals include those who have not been vaccinated or are unsure of their measles immunity, pregnant women and those who are immune-compromised (have a weakened immune system due to illness and disease like diabetes or HIV, malnutrition, and/or medications). Individuals born in or before 1957 are considered immune.
Individuals who were possibly exposed are advised to watch for symptoms 21 days after exposure. If symptoms develop, it is crucial to call ahead to the healthcare provider you plan to visit so they can take precautions to prevent exposure in other individuals.
Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease that is spread by direct person-to-person contact, and through the air by a contagious person sneezing or coughing. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air where the infected person coughed or sneezed. 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)
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Tiny white spots on the inner cheeks, gums, and roof of the mouth (Koplik Spots) 2-3 days after symptoms begin
- A rash that is red, raised, blotchy; usually starts on face, spreads to trunk, arms, and legs 3-5 days after symptoms begin
“Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection.” said Dr. Russell Faust, Medical Director for Oakland County Health Division. “Immunizations are the best way to protect our families and communities from vaccine preventable diseases like measles, particularly in light of recent outbreaks nationally and worldwide.”
The MMR vaccine is available through some health providers, including many pharmacies.
The MMR vaccine is a two-dose series. The Health Division accepts health insurance, as well as Medicaid, Medicare, Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, cash, and credit. VFC offers vaccines at no cost for eligible children. There are additional fees for credit card payments. No one will be denied access due to inability to pay. There is a discounted/sliding fee schedule available.
MARCH 26th Update:
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated the confirmed count of measles cases in the state to 22, with infected individuals residing in Oakland and Wayne counties. Oakland County has 21 cases and Wayne County has one. Infected individuals range in age from 11 to 63.