Measles case reported in Broward County

With measles outbreaks reported in five states, Broward County now has a reported case of the highly contagious disease.

The Department of Health Broward said the local case is an adult who acquired measles from outside the United States. In alert to healthcare providers, the health department said the disease is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing and can be spread four days before the first symptom appears. It is requesting measles testing for anyone who presents with a combination of symptoms.

Last year, Florida had its largest number of measles cases in an eight-year period. In 2018, a total of 15 Florida residents and four visitors with measles spent time in the state while infectious. All were unvaccinated for measles. The Florida Department of Health says because of the generally high vaccination rates, measles in Florida is rare but occurs every year and is most often associated with international travel.

A measles vaccine typically offers immunity for life from the highly contagious disease, but there has been an increase in the number of people who choose not to be vaccinated.

After three to five days of the measles infection, a rash breaks out that usually begins around the face and neck and spreads to the rest of the body.

“This is one of the most deadly of all childhood rash and fever illnesses,” said Dr. Bindu Mayi, professor of Microbiology, in Nova Southeastern University’s College of Medical Sciences.

“Almost always when they trace it, it is coming in from outside the United States,” she said. “If someone comes into community and they carry it, the chance of spreading is low, but if there are many people who are unvaccinated, now you have a problem.”

Mayi says there are no medications to treat the measles virus once contracted, only those to treat symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis, and white spots in the mouth.

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