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THIS WEEK - January 20, 2015

Measles

SInce the beginning of January more than 50 cases of measels were reported to have measels.  Many of these cases are part of a large outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. According to the California Department of Health "Of the confirmed cases, 42 have been linked to an initial exposure in December at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. The confirmed cases include five Disney employees. In addition, other cases have visited Disney parks while infectious in January. CDPH recommends that any patient with a measles compatible illness who has recently visited venues where international travelers congregate, such as theme parks, airports, etc., be considered to have a plausible exposure to measles". 

Frequently Asked Questions About Measles 

  • Why do people still get measles in the United States?
    A: Measles is brought into the United States. This happens when unvaccinated Americans or foreign visitors get measles while they're abroad, then bring the disease into the United States. They can spread measles to other people who are not vaccinated, which sometimes leads to outbreaks. This can occur in communities with unvaccinated people.

  •  Why have there been more measles cases in the United States in recent years? A: In 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014, there were more reported measles cases compared with previous years. CDC experts attribute this to: more measles cases than usual in some countries, such as in Europe, where Americans travel more often, and spreading of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.

  • Is measles a concern for the United States?
    A: Yes. Since measles is still common in many countries, this disease will continue to be brought into the United States. Measles is highly contagious, so anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting the disease. People who get measles put others at risk who cannot get vaccinated because they are too young or they have specific health conditions. In addition, communities with pockets of unvaccinated people are vulnerable to measles outbreaks.

  • Are there vaccine reccomendations for children and adults? The CDC recommends all children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Children can receive the second dose earlier as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.
    Students at post-high school educational institutions who do not have evidence of immunity against measles need two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.
    Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

For more information visit the Measles page on the CDC website located HERE


Enterovirus

According to an article written December 2, 2014, by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), "with the recent outbreaks of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) respiratory infections and mysterious polio-like illnesses in US children fading, it seems increasingly likely that the two [polio-like illness and EVD-68] are related, says an expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).  Click HERE to read the article.

The State of Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced it's first confirmed case of Enterovirus.  DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein said "Now that this virus is known to be in Maryland, it is important that we all take reasonable steps to limit its spread and control its impact."   
DHMH is recommending that families: 

  • Practice preventive steps, as with other ailments, by regularly washing hands with soap and water.
  • Provide special attention to children with asthma.
  • Be alert to wheezing and other respiratory ailments in children.
  • Keep sick children at home.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cough and sneeze into sleeve or a tissue.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups, eating utensils, etc. with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Symptoms of mild illness may include:  

  • Fever
  • Runny nose, sneezing, cough
  • Skin rash
  • Mouth blisters
  • Body and muscle aches

You can be exposed to the virus by: 

  • Having close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person,
  • Changing diapers of an infected person, or
  • If you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands

You can help protect yourself and others from enterovirus infections by:   

  • Learn the Right Way to Wash Your Hands – Soap up and sing the birthday song two times. That is the perfect length of time to get rid of germs!
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers,
  • Avoiding close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, with people who are sick, and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Get medical attention when:  

  • Your child has difficulty breathing or has a new the start of new wheezing.

Stay up-to-date on vaccinations, especially influenza vaccine, to reduce respiratory illness.
Keep Calm Wash Hands 


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Howard County Health Department 8930 Stanford Blvd. Columbia, MD 21045