One Reported Case of Measles in Tennessee ‘Acquired from Outside U.S.’ in Midst of Nationwide Outbreak

"Measles" by Dave Haygarth

There’s a reported nationwide outbreak of measles.

Even though Tennessee is one of the affected areas, in fact, only one person in the Volunteer State got it, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

“These cases are not part of one outbreak,” said Bill Christian, department spokesman, in an emailed statement to The Tennessee Star.

“Tennessee has reported only one case of measles so far this year, which occurred in a traveler this spring and did not lead to any additional cases.”

Department officials legally cannot release specific information on this individual, he added.

“This case was reported in Shelby County, and the traveler acquired measles from outside the United States,” Christian said.

According to published reports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that 107 people from 21 states have reported contracting the measles.

Other states, according to published reports, are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

“This number will likely outpace the number of measles cases reported in 2017,” according to out of North Carolina.

“There were 118 cases in 2017, and only 86 the year before that.”

Measles is an airborne virus that spreads through coughing and sneezing, the report said.

Symptoms show up in 10 to 14 days after exposure. The symptoms last seven to 10 days and include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes followed by a rash that typically starts on the face.
According to the CDC, complications include pneumonia and brain swelling that could result in hospitalization or death.

“Tennessee’s first line of defense against measles is vaccination,” Christian said.

“Two doses of the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine protects about 97 percent of recipients. One dose is required for daycare and two doses of MMR are required for school in kindergarten through 12th grade and in college.”

The second line of defense, Christian went on, is a strong surveillance system and quick response to reports.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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