“Outbreak Mode” as 6 Measles cases confirmed in Shelby County

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Six cases of Measles are now confirmed in Shelby County according to the Shelby County Health Department.

We knew of two cases last Friday, the other four have been confirmed since.

The cases are all over the county.

Dr. Helen Morrow with the Shelby County Health Department said they are in “outbreak mode.”

The original two cases involve an adult, and the other a child.

Some of the cases are people who were in contact with each other.

“I would not be at all surprised if we do have some more cases,” said Dr. Morrow.

The Health Department couldn’t release any other information because of patient privacy laws.

Wherever it started, it’s going to spread if they don’t do something about it.

They said they are doing what they call a Contact Investigation.

They are reaching out to all of the people who may have come in contact with the patients during their infectious periods.

People who contract the measles virus can spread the infection for four days before developing a rash and for four days after the rash starts.

Doctor Morrow said more than 90% of Shelby County School students received the measles vaccinations, but the shots don’t offer complete protection.

There have been nine previous cases of measles in the entire state of Tennessee in the past 12 years.

Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable viral infection that starts with a high fever, runny nose, cough and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the head and gradually moves down the body.

The rash illness lasts about a week. It is usually a relatively mild illness but can result in complications, including pneumonia or inflammation of the brain, that require hospitalization.

Measles can spread easily through the air to people who are not vaccinated or who have not had measles illness before.

Are you protected?

The information below is provided by the Centers for Disease Control:

What is the best age to give the second dose of MMR vaccine?
Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine–the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Giving the second dose of the vaccine earlier is allowed at any time as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.

As an adult, do I need the MMR vaccine?
Most adults need one dose of MMR vaccine unless they have evidence of measles immunity. However, adults who are at a high risk of measles exposure, including students in post-high school institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers, need two doses of MMR vaccine unless they have evidence of immunity.

Acceptable evidence of immunity against measles includes at least one of the following:

  • written documentation of past vaccination:
  • with one or more doses of measles-containing vaccine administered on or after the first birthday for adults not at high risk
  • with two doses of measles-containing vaccine for adults at high risk, including college students in post-high school institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers
  • blood tests that show they are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella
  • laboratory confirmation that they had measles, mumps, and rubella
  • birth before 1957 (and are presumed immune by age)

A Measles Hotline has been set up at 901-222-9299.

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