Maryland has confirmed its first case of measles as the number of cases nationwide continues to climb.
The Maryland Department of Health reports it has identified a laboratory-confirmed measles infection in a Maryland resident on April 5. The department did not say where in the state the measles case was reported.
A safety alert issued by Dr. Monique Duwell, chief of the department’s Center for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Outbreak Response, also asked doctors in the state to be vigilant about measles.
“Given this finding, as well as the growing number of measles cases in other areas of the country, we are asking clinicians in Maryland to have heightened vigilance for measles, and to take prompt action to prevent additional measles cases,” said Duwell.
“This includes rapidly identifying patients with suspected measles, implementing strict infection control measures, conducting appropriate diagnostic testing and notifying your local health department. It is also important that you and all health care workers are protected against measles.”
The CDC recommends that children receive two doses of the MMR vaccination. (Photo: Getty Images)
Measles is highly communicable, with greater than 90% secondary attack rates among susceptible persons.
Measles is an acute viral respiratory illness characterized by early symptoms of fever, cough, coryza, conjunctivitis lasting for two-four days, followed by a rash that appears about 14 days after exposure and spreads progressively from the hairline to the face, then torso and extremities.
Other symptoms include Koplik spots, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph nodes) and malaise. Patients are contagious from four days before to four days after the rash appears,
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said 465 cases have been confirmed in 19 states in from Jan. 1 to April 4 of this year, the second-highest total since measles was declared eliminated in the USA almost two decades ago.
040819-Measles-outbreak_ONLINE (Photo: USA TODAY)
There were 372 cases last year; the highest total since 2000 was 667 in 2014, according to a USA Today report.
The surge has been fueled in part by the anti-vaccination movement — most people who contract measles have not been vaccinated, the CDC said. If one person has the disease, up to 90% of the people close to that person will become infected if they are not immune, the CDC warned.
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Kamlesh Desai, Salisbury Daily TimesPublished 8:42 a.m. ET April 12, 2019 | Updated 4:45 p.m. ET April 12, 2019