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Health District Monitoring Possible 'Extremely Limited' Measles Exposure



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The Newtown Health District is monitoring a handful of unvaccinated individuals who may have possibly come into contact with an adult who was subsequently diagnosed with measles. While the exposure to others was extremely limited, Health District Director Donna Culbert is viewing the situation as an important teaching moment to reinforce the importance of vaccinations.The Newtown Bee.

Since the possible exposure, the Health District has been working with epidemiologists at the Connecticut Department of Public Health. The Fairfield County adult involved contracted the disease after international travel; then that individual visited a location in town. The extent of the individual's travels and potential exposure has been determined and follow-up action has been taken.

"The very few individuals who were potentially exposed to the measles case have agreed to necessary movement restrictions until the incubation period has passed, thereby protecting any other unimmunized persons from risk of disease transmission," Ms Culbert told

Because measles is a highly contagious disease, it can spread quickly among unvaccinated people. However, the majority of people exposed are not at risk of developing the disease since most people have either been vaccinated or have had measles in the past, before vaccination became routine.

"The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated," Health Director Donna Culbert said, echoing sentiment from Newtown Health District Medical Advisor Thomas Draper, MD. "While most residents have been vaccinated for measles, it's important to know your vaccination status and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles so you can get medical attention."

Symptoms of measles generally begin seven to 14 days after a person is exposed to an infected person. A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and sore throat.

Three to five days after the start of these symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears, usually starting on a person's face at the hairline and spreading downward to the entire body. At the time the rash appears, a person's fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

The rash typically lasts at least a few days and then disappears in the same order. People with measles may be contagious up to four days before the rash appears and for four days after the rash first appears.

Most Connecticut residents have been vaccinated, but if unsure, Ms Culbert advises residents to check with their physician. People who have had measles in the past or who have been vaccinated against measles are considered immune according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Measles is very easily spread from person to person. So if a person develops a fever and a rash, they should avoid public settings and telephone their health care providers before going directly to a health care facility so steps can be taken to avoid possibly exposing others.

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