TDH CONFIRMS TWO ADDITIONAL MEASLES CASES
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health State Public Health Laboratory has confirmed two additional cases of measles in residents of East Tennessee. This brings the total number of measles cases in Tennessee in 2019 to three. The two new cases are associated with the first measles case in Tennessee this year which was announced April 18, and were identified as part of the ongoing contact investigation.
“We expected to have more measles cases linked to the first one, and these new cases occurred in people we had identified and were monitoring as contacts of the first patient,” said Tennessee Immunization Program Medical Director Michelle Fiscus, MD, FAAP. “The good news is there are no additional contacts of these new cases that have not already been identified.”
TDH is providing information about measles and how to prevent it online at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/tennesee-measles.html. This page includes the number of measles cases in the state this year, which will be updated daily by 3 p.m. Central time if additional cases are confirmed.
While this outbreak investigation is currently centered in East Tennessee, all Tennesseans should be aware of measles and its symptoms. Measles symptoms may include fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots in the mouth. Several days after these symptoms start, a red, spotty rash typically begins on the face and spreads over the body. Symptoms may develop any time in the 21 days following exposure to the illness. Nearly one in three measles patients will develop ear infections, diarrhea or pneumonia. Measles can be fatal in approximately one to two out of every 1,000 cases.
All Tennesseans are urged to ensure they are up-to date on MMR vaccine, which is extremely effective in preventing infection. The measles virus is highly contagious and can stay airborne or live on surfaces for up to two hours. People recently infected with measles may not have any symptoms of illness, but can transmit the virus for about five days before the typical measles rash appears.
Anyone who believes they or a loved one has measles symptoms should stay home and contact a health care provider to make arrangements to visit a health care facility before going to a health care center to prevent further exposure of others to the illness.
People with questions about how to protect themselves against measles should call a health care provider, the local health department or a hotline established to provide answers to questions from the public about measles. The hotline number is 865-549-5343; calls to the hotline will be answered from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central time/8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern time daily until further notice.
For more information about measles, visit www.cdc.gov/features/measles/index.html.
This news release can be accessed online at www.tn.gov/health/news.html.