MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) – State, federal and local agencies have confirmed 22 measles cases in Wisconsin, including some among Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy, although there are currently no known active cases there.
The risk of measles transmission in surrounding communities is considered low at this time, according to the Monroe County Health Department, State Department of Health Services and Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. diseases.
Those diagnosed with measles in Fort McCoy ranged in age from 4 months to 26 years, and 14 (64%) required treatment at area hospitals, the Monroe County Department said.
In an effort to prevent further spread in Fort McCoy and protect surrounding communities, the Monroe County Health Department and state DHS are working to support federal agencies that have led measles vaccination efforts and other communicable diseases to all Afghan evacuees in mid-September.
More than 11,000 doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine have been administered at Fort McCoy.
“From the very beginning, we have welcomed Afghan allies to Wisconsin,” said Health Secretary-designate Karen Timberlake. “We will continue to support federal and local partners in their ongoing efforts to contain the spread of measles and ensure that those who have been evacuated from their home communities receive the medical care they need to be healthy. and well protected.
Timberlake described the hardships Afghan evacuees have endured over the past year as “truly unimaginable, and I ask that we all show compassion and respect people’s privacy and culture as the process of reinstallation continues”.
Most Wisconsin residents are vaccinated against measles as children, giving them lifelong immunity. However, people who have never been vaccinated and who are exposed to someone with measles can transmit the virus to other members of the community, leading to outbreaks.
Staff or visitors who are not vaccinated and who stayed at Fort McCoy between September and October may be at increased risk of measles, the agencies said. Wisconsin residents can check their immunization status on the Wisconsin Immunization Registry.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer for the DHS Office of Communicable Diseases, urged Wisconsin residents to check their measles vaccination status and speak to their healthcare providers if they or their children still have need for vaccines.
DHS will update measles cases at 2 p.m. every Thursday on the DHS Outbreaks webpage.
Measles is highly contagious and can be spread from person to person through the air. It can remain suspended in indoor spaces for two hours after a sick person leaves. People are contagious from four days before the rash appears until four days after the rash appears.
Symptoms of measles include:
• Runny nose
• High fever (may be over 104°F)
• Red, watery eyes or conjunctivitis (“pink eye”)
• A red rash with raised bumps that starts at the hairline and moves to the arms and legs three to five days after symptoms start.
Thanks to widespread vaccination, measles was officially eliminated from the United States in 2000. However, measles outbreaks still occur in areas of the United States where people are unvaccinated and in under-vaccinated countries that lack the capacity to widely distribute vaccines and drugs. resources to all their residents.
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