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Feb. 23, 2024

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) has confirmed a case of measles in a Lake County resident. The risk to the public is low, but IDOH continues to investigate the case along with local public health officials. No other information about the case will be released to protect patient privacy. This is the first case in Indiana since 2019.                                                                  

“Measles is easily spread and can be serious, especially for young children. About one in five unvaccinated people in the United States who get measles is hospitalized, and 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to measles will become sick,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Lindsay Weaver. “This case is a good reminder that you are at risk if you haven’t been vaccinated.”

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is rare in the United States due to the widespread availability of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, but visitors from other countries or U.S. citizens traveling abroad can become infected, particularly before or during travel. As of Feb. 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 20 confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year.

More than 93 percent of people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to measles, and more than 97 percent will be protected after receiving a second dose. Two doses of the vaccine are needed to be fully protected. Individuals are encouraged to check with their healthcare providers to ensure vaccinations are up to date. Individuals born before 1957 are presumed to be immune to measles.

Children are routinely vaccinated for measles at 12-15 months, and again at 4-6 years of age before going to kindergarten, but children as young as 6 months old can receive the measles vaccine if they are at risk. Because some children are too young to be immunized, it’s important that those around them are vaccinated to protect them. 

Vaccine Clinics
Three vaccination clinics next week are offering free MMR vaccination for people older than 1 year who would like to get vaccinated:

Date and time: 3-7 p.m. CST Wednesday, Feb. 28
Location: Gary Health Department, 1145 W. Fifth Ave., Gary

Date and time: 3-7 p.m. CST Wednesday, Feb. 28
Location: East Chicago Health Department. 100 W. Chicago Ave., East Chicago

Date and time: 3-7 p.m. CST Wednesday, Feb. 28
Location: Jean Shepard Community Center. 3031 J. F. Mahoney Drive, Hammond

Measles begins with a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes usually about 7 to 14 days after exposure to measles but can occur up to 21 days. The fever increases and can get as high as 105 degrees. Tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth two to three days after symptoms begin. Then two to four days after symptoms begin, a rash starts on the hairline and face. It spreads down the back and trunk, and then extends to the arms and hands, as well as the legs and feet. After about five days, the rash fades the same order in which it appeared.

Because measles is so easily spread, a single case is considered an outbreak. When infected people sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air. Those droplets remain infective in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours.

What you can do
If you are experiencing the symptoms of measles, stay home and call your healthcare provider right away before going to the doctor’s office. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and alert your doctor if you think you have been in contact with an infected person. If you are ill with measles, stay home and away from others, especially unvaccinated infants, people with diseases affecting their immune systems and pregnant women.

The public may call the IDOH information center at 1-800-382-1563 from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. EST Monday through Friday with any questions. Please visit the IDOH website or the CDC website for more information about measles.

Visit the Indiana Department of Health at www.health.in.gov for important health and safety information, or follow us on X at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StateHealthIN.




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