Health department confirms case of measles in West Memphis

(WMC-TV) - Health officials are investigating after a case of measles turned up in the Mid-South.

The Shelby County Health Department says measles symptoms can feel much like the flu. There have been no outbreaks in the United States in 10 years.

Arkansas health officials confirmed Thursday that a 52-year-old West Memphis woman returned to Little Rock in May from a three month visit to India and tested positive for the measles.

The woman was hospitalized after developing a full body rash, aches, and fatigue.

"We haven't had problems in the United States because most people have been immunized," said Dr. Judy Martin, Shelby County Health Department.

Officials believe she may have been infected for almost five days, while visiting relative in four Arkansas cities: West Memphis, Proctor, Sheridan, White Hall.

Memphis travel consultant, Jan Oglesby says she warns all of customers about updating immunizations when traveling abroad and purchasing travel insurance.

Oglesby says the travel insurance will be the least expensive part of your trip. The insurance costs range by age.

"I really don't like to sell a trip without travel insurance because you've got to protect yourself," said Jan Oglesby.

She requires that customers sign a waiver if they decline insurance.

Dr. Martin says immunizations for the measles are administered in two doses for U.S. citizens born after 1956.

It is unclear if the woman from West Memphis skipped out on her vaccinations or simply missed the second dose

"There is a chance that she assumed that she was safe and so she maybe did not take the vaccine," said Dr. Martin.

Dr. Martin says there is no cure for the measles. Arkansas doctors are likely treating the woman's symptoms and will keep her quarantined for several more weeks.

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