Maine Confirms First Case of Measles Since 2019 – Vaccinated Child Infected
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the state's first case of measles since 2019. The infected individual is a child who had received a dose of the measles vaccine. The Maine CDC is currently awaiting confirmation from the U.S. CDC and is treating the case as infectious out of caution. The agency has listed several locations where others could have been exposed to measles, including the “Family Time Dine and Play” at Auburn Mall, two medical centers, and a Hannaford grocery store. The Maine CDC is urging anyone who may have been exposed to watch for symptoms for 21 days and to immediately contact a healthcare provider if they experience any symptoms.
The measles virus is a communicable disease that can easily spread and leads to symptoms resembling those of the flu, as well as a rash that originates from the head and extends downwards. Pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and mortality can be caused by it. The MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is the best prevention for measles, and the U.S. CDC recommends all children get two doses of the vaccine, the first between 12 to 15 months of age and the second between 4 to 6 years old. Although it is rare, it is possible to contract measles even though vaccinated. The U.S. CDC reports that one dose of the vaccine provides 93% protection, while two doses confer 97% protection.
Measles was declared eliminated from the US in 2000, thanks to an intensive vaccination program. However, vaccination rates in the US have dropped in recent years, leading to new outbreaks. An outbreak in Ohio in November 2022 sickened 85 children, none of whom were fully vaccinated. The last major measles outbreak in the US occurred in 2019 and affected 31 states, with 1,274 cases, including one in Maine. The outbreak was driven by unvaccinated individuals, according to the U.S. CDC.
The Maine CDC is urging anyone who may have been exposed to measles to contact a healthcare provider immediately if they experience any symptoms. The virus is spread through coughs or sneezes, and an infected person can spread the disease four days before a rash appears until four days afterward. On surfaces and in the air, the virus can remain viable for as long as two hours.
Babies and young children are more likely to get “very sick” from measles, according to the Maine CDC. According to the U.S. CDC, individuals who have been fully vaccinated and contract measles typically experience less severe symptoms and have a lower chance of transmitting the disease. The Maine CDC is currently awaiting confirmation from the U.S. CDC and is treating the case as infectious out of caution. The agency has listed several locations where others could have been exposed to measles, including the “Family Time Dine and Play” at Auburn Mall, two medical centers, and a Hannaford grocery store.
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