The measles outbreak has made it to Michigan

Jan 26, 2015
Originally published on January 27, 2015 8:36 am

The measles outbreak has made it to Michigan.

After the mounting headlines about an outbreak that seems to have begun in California’s Disneyland, the first Michigan case was diagnosed late last week.

The diagnosed individual is an adult in Oakland country and according to Dr. Matthew Davis, the Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health and a Professor at the University of Michigan, this case may well be connected to the Disneyland outbreak.

“The fact of the matter is anytime there’s an outbreak in the U.S., we all need to be alert,” Davis said. “Measles is something that can spread very quickly and is highly contagious from person to person. One of the most difficult things about measles is that you’re actually able to spread the virus through coughing and sneezing for four days before you have the classic rash.”

Measles, Davis said, causes the body irritation and inflammation in many areas. The lungs and the brain have the hardest time fighting the virus, however.

“The two parts of the body that have the most difficulty and present the greatest health danger for measles are the lungs—you can have a form of pneumonia—and the brain – you can have a form of meningitis and cephalitis,” Davis said. “In those cases, oftentimes measles can lead to hospitalization and we also see deaths as a result of measles.”

Davis went on to say that in the year 2000 there were no cases of measles in the U.S. He attributed this success to vaccinations – especially vaccinations of kids, the primary “reservoir” for measles.

Some parents, however, are opting out of vaccinating their children. Many have qualms regarding the safety of vaccines.

Davis has a response to the worry.

“In the past, some researchers have raised questions about whether the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is safe for children. That research that came out in the late 1990s raising the possible connection between the measles vaccine and autism has been disproven, and in fact proven to be a falsehood.”

He said the Oakland County Health Division suggests that any adult who is unsure about his or her measles vaccination status should contact a physician for a simple blood test and that all children should now be vaccinated.

“This is an effective vaccine and a safe enough vaccine that I’ve recommended it to all my patients and given it to my own kids,” Davis said.

Listen above to hear more from Dr. Matthew Davis.

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