Tennessee health officials address what residents should know about measles following confirmed case

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Tennessee health officials urge Tennessee residents to check if they up to date on their vaccines following a confirmed measles case in East Tennessee.
 
The Tennessee Department of Health announced Wednesday that anyone who went to  Mapco on Browns Ferry Road in Chattanooga on April 11th from 7:30 pm to 10 pm and Speedway on Orth Charles G. Seviers Boulevard in Clinton on April 12th from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, could have been exposed.
 
“Measles is one of the most infectious diseases we deal with. It’s very easy to spread and it’s airborne,” said Tim Jones, an Epidemiologist with the Tennessee Department of Health. 
 
A stern warning given at a press conference Wednesday from the Tennessee Department of Health, which came with an equally stern prediction.
 

“I would be very surprised if we don’t have a few more cases because it’s such an easy disease to spread, so that will be expected,” Jones said.

While the Health Department did not identify a Northeast Tennessee location for potential exposure, the Sullivan County Health Department took part in an emergency webinar to prepare for a measles case. Sullivan County Health officials hope to prevent by getting out the word about the measles, mumps and rubela vaccination(MMR).
 
“The ones that may consider getting the MMR is anyone who is not had two MMR’s in their lifetime or they are unvaccinated,” said Dr. Stephen May, Medical Director of the Sullivan County Health Department. “If you have your two MMR’s you have a 97 percent chance of protection.”
 

Dr. May says its uncertain if we could see a case of the measles in the Tri-Cities. The issue lies within the unvaccinated population.

“If we take 100 people in a room that is unvaccinated 90 percent of those will get the disease,” he said.

He says a common misconception is that the booster shot is different from the MMR vaccine. Dr. May says the MMR vaccine is available at all local health departments and at primary doctors offices.
 
Officials say an unvaccinated person exposed to measles should get their vaccine within three days of exposure and according to the CDC, symptoms may arise seven to fourteen days after exposure.
 
Symptoms include a fever, rash, headache, watery eyes and fatigue.
 
The Health Department advises if you develop symptoms, you should stay home and contact your health care provider to make arrangements to see a physician without exposing others to measles.

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