MSDH investigates measles exposure in Hattiesburg
(The following is a press release from the Mississippi State Department of Health.)
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is investigating measles exposure in Mississippi from an out-of-state traveler. The exposure happened at various locations from April 9-11.
“We are conducting a thorough investigation of the contacts we know this individual made during that timeframe. Measles is extremely contagious, with a 90 percent chance of infection from exposure if you are not protected,” said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “So far we have not identified any cases in Mississippi, but please understand that you may have been exposed without knowing. Those who have not been vaccinated against measles need to take immediate precautions.”
If you were at any of the locations during the specified dates and times listed below, you could be potentially exposed to measles. Please make sure you and your family are up-to-date on vaccinations, monitor for symptoms, and if symptoms do appear, call your physician or local emergency room BEFORE going to make sure the facility can make proper arrangements to avoid further spread of the illness.
• Subway Restaurant inside the Circle K, 4050 U.S. Highway 11 in Hattiesburg 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, April 9
• Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, 3509 Hardy Street in Hattiesburg 10-11 p.m. Wednesday, April 10
“The good news is that most Mississippians are protected against measles because of our strong immunization laws for school entry,” said Dr. Dobbs. “More than 99 percent of Mississippi school-aged children have received a complete dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. If you received both doses of the MMR series of vaccinations as a child, you are protected.”
Measles is a serious respiratory disease of the lungs and breathing tubes that starts with a high fever, followed soon after by a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. On the third to seventh day of illness, a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. The rash starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Symptoms usually appear about 11 days after exposure with a range of seven to 21 days.
Measles spreads when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs or sneezes. It is very contagious, with the virus lingering in a room where a person with measles has been for up to two hours. Measles can be serious. It can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and death. Young children are at higher risk for complications, especially those under 12 months old who are too young to receive the measles vaccination.
Again, if you were potentially exposed to measles at one of the locations during the specified dates and times above, make sure you and your family are up-to-date on vaccinations, monitor for symptoms, and if symptoms do appear, call your physician or local emergency room BEFORE going to make sure the facility can make proper arrangements to avoid further spread of the illness.