On the Beat in Bluffton

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Patient with measles treated at Bluffton Regional Medical Center

An Adams County resident with measles was treated in the early evening on Monday, Feb. 20, at the Bluffton Regional Medical Center emergency room.

BRMC staff has already called the “limited number” of people who may have been exposed to measles through the Adams County patient, said Tamra Boucher, the director of business development and physician services.

Boucher also said she knows of no one in Wells County who has reported measles symptoms, and the Adams County resident is no longer contagious.

Learn more in the Tuesday, Feb. 28, News-Banner.

Because of the measles outbreak in central Indiana, which is not connected with the Adams County case, the Indiana State Department of Health recently released the following press release:

The Indiana State Department of Health has established a hotline to help answer questions from the general public. This hotline can be used as a resource for the situation in Central Indiana, as well as the developing situation in Northeastern Indiana.

• The hotline number is 1-877-826-0011 (TTY/TTD 1-888-561-0044).
• State Health Department staff will be on-hand during the hours of 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday to answer questions.
• Note: Immunization status cannot be verified through this hotline. Individuals unsure of vaccination status are encouraged to contact your health care provider, as they have access to the Indiana Immunization Registry.

About measles
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is rare in the United States due to high levels of vaccination with the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine; however, unvaccinated visitors from other countries can transmit measles to unvaccinated people in the U.S., or unvaccinated U.S. citizens traveling abroad can become infected during travel.

More than 95 percent of people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to measles, and more than 99 percent will be protected after receiving a second dose. Two doses of the vaccine are needed to be fully protected. Individuals are encouraged to check with their health care providers to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date.

Children are routinely vaccinated for measles at 1 year of age, and again at 4-6 years of age before going to kindergarten, but children as young as 6 months old can receive the measles vaccine if they are at risk. If you are unsure about your vaccination history, check with your health care provider, as they have access to vaccination records for many Hoosiers through the Indiana Immunization Registry known as CHIRP.

Measles begins with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes about 7-10 days after exposure. The fever increases and can get as high as 105 degrees. Two to four days later, a rash starts on the face and upper neck. It spreads down the back and trunk, and then extends to the arms and hands, as well as the legs and feet. After about five days, the rash fades the same order in which it appeared.

Measles is highly contagious. When infected persons sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air and are inhaled by others. Those droplets remain active and contagious in the air and on infected surfaces for up to two hours. Measles can also be transmitted when moist secretions from the nose or mouth of an infected person come in contact with the mouth, nose or eyes of another person.

What you can do
Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent transmission. Two properly administered doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccine are needed to be fully protected. Individuals born before 1957 are presumed to be immune to measles.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of measles, stay home and call your doctor right away. Alert your doctor if you think you have been in contact with an infected person and be prepared to describe your symptoms. If you are ill with measles, remain home and away from others, especially unvaccinated infants, people with diseases affecting their immune systems, and pregnant women.

To learn more about measles, visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.statehealth.in.gov. Additional information about measles can be found by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/.

Learn how to contact your local health department by visiting http://www.state.in.us/isdh/24822.htm.

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