The Tennessee Department of Health State Public Health Laboratory has confirmed two additional cases of measles in residents of East Tennessee.
This brings the total number of measles cases in Tennessee in 2019 to three. The two new cases are associated with the first measles case in Tennessee this year which was announced April 18, and were identified as part of the ongoing contact investigation.
The exact location of the outbreak and the identities of the people have not been released.
“We expected to have more measles cases linked to the first one, and these new cases occurred in people we had identified and were monitoring as contacts of the first patient,” said Tennessee Immunization Program Medical Director Michelle Fiscus, MD, FAAP. “The good news is there are no additional contacts of these new cases that have not already been identified.”
TDH says that while this outbreak investigation is currently centered in East Tennessee, all Tennesseans should be aware of measles and its symptoms. Measles symptoms may include fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots in the mouth. Several days after these symptoms start, a red, spotty rash typically begins on the face and spreads over the body. Symptoms may develop any time in the 21 days following exposure to the illness. Nearly one in three measles patients will develop ear infections, diarrhea or pneumonia. Measles can be fatal in approximately one to two out of every 1,000 cases.
Measles in the U.S. has climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year in a resurgence largely attributed to misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines.