SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - A Shelby County child and an adult who are not related have confirmed cases of measles, according to Shelby County Health Department.
Dr Helen Morrow, along with doctors Alisa Haushalter and David Sweat with the Shelby County Health Department, are doing all they can to stop the virus from spreading.
"We have to look at every place that they've been in that period of time, what they were doing in those locations, and who else was in those locations," Dr. Haushalter said.
SCHD has not identified where the two patients contracted the virus.
Dr. Sweat said they have one main goal.
"We are trying to corral the outbreak and stop it from spreading. That's our main focus," Dr. Sweat said.
Dr. Haushalter said there could be some good news with this threat; most people are vaccinated at 12-months for measles.
"There's never a zero chance or a 100 percent in vaccines, but relatively close to that," Dr. Haushalter said.
Dr. Morrow warns that does not mean everyone should let down their guard.
"That does not mean that there are not susceptible people in the community," Dr. Morrow said.
"If you were likely exposed, we will be reaching out," Dr. Haushalter said.
SCHD is now asking residents to be aware of signs and symptoms, as well as make sure their vaccinations are current.
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that begins with a high fever, runny nose, cough, and red eyes. It is followed by a rash that starts on the head and moves down the body gradually.
It is easily preventable with a childhood vaccination.
The health department is working with physicians and clinics in the area to identify people who may have developed the illness after exposure to the two measles cases. Officials want to minimize the risk of exposure to additional residents.
Protect Yourself and Your Family from Measles:
- Babies should receive the first measles vaccine on or just after their first birthday. Children older than 12 months of age who have not yet received a measles vaccine (given as MMR) should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
- Ensuring everyone in the family is immune is the best way to protect children younger than one year of age who are too young to receive the MMR vaccine.
- Two doses of measles vaccine are required for best protection. Children usually get the second measles shot at four to six years of age before going to school, but this dose can be given as little as one month after the first dose, if preferred.
- In general, adults born in 1957 or later who have never had measles or MMR vaccine should receive at least one dose of MMR.
- People who work in healthcare settings where they have contact with patients should have had two doses of MMR or laboratory proof of immunity.
- Vaccinations are very safe and are the only way to ensure protection against measles. The benefits far outweigh any risks. Side effects are usually mild, such as soreness where the shot was given.
- In addition to being protected at home, be sure you and your family are fully vaccinated prior to international travel: measles is not uncommon in many other countries.
- The MMR vaccine is available from many primary care providers and from the Shelby County Health Department.