What may be the first case of measles in two decades in Winnebago County is being investigated by the Winnebago County Health Department.
Sue Fuller, a spokesperson for the health department, reported that a physician confirmed the presence of a measles predecessor rash on a four-year-old child on June 30. The child also exhibited other symptoms consistent with the onset of measles, according to the physician’s report.
The last confirmed case of measles in Winnebago County was prior to 1994.
Thanks to widespread vaccinations, measles is extremely rare in the United States. However, the disease is still brought into our country by people who get infected abroad.
In 2011, 222 people in the United States were reported to have measles. U.S. residents and visitors who contracted measles abroad brought it to United States and spread it to others, causing 17 measles outbreaks in various U.S. communities last year.
The health department is responding to this case by enhancing surveillance for measles, issuing a health alert to private healthcare providers, and providing vaccinations to underinsured or uninsured populations residents.
All area health-care professionals are urged to be very alert for additional measles cases and report all suspect cases to WCHD.
A highly contagious disease, measles is transmitted from person to person through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The time from exposure to the onset of rash averages 14 days.
The illness is characterized by a fever and cold-like symptoms that may include a runny nose; red, runny and sensitive eyes; and a cough. These symptoms are followed by a red blotchy rash that usually starts on the face or neck and spreads to the rest of the body.
Uninsured Winnebago County residents can receive vaccinations at the Winnebago County Health Department. Vaccination appointments can be made by calling 815-720-4370.
Additional information on measles is available at the WCHD website or by calling the Winnebago County Health Department at 815-720-4000 during normal business hours.