ALERT: Person infected with measles may have spread disease throughout Alabama

Health
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — A person with measles may have exposed residents throughout their travels throughout Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Health.

The Alabama Department of Public Health received the news from the Tennessee Department of Health on Tuesday. According to them, the exposed individual traveled through Alabama “on April 11 and made two stops during the infectious period.”

The person is said to have made a stop at D & J Travel Plaza on Highway 28 in Livingston at 2:20 p.m., where they bought food and gas. Later that evening at 5:54 p.m., they went to a Chick-fil-A in Fort Payne to get food.

According to the Department of Health, a person exposed to measles can pass on the virus onto others through touch or cough four days before and after the rash appears on the skin. The virus can also survive outside the body for two hours on surfaces and in the air.

Because of the potential spread of the disease, the Alabama Department of Health asks citizens to take precautions.

“If you suspect you were exposed, it is important for you to call your healthcare provider before being seen in his or her office, follow instructions for reporting, and practice social isolation if you develop any of the signs and symptoms of measles,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.

If you get exposed to measles, you have a 72-hour grace period where receiving the vaccine could prevent the disease. For any individual, two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine can prevent the disease with a success rate of 97 percent.

If people are not vaccinated, the chances of infection are high upon exposure. 

“A single case of measles will infect up to 95 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed,” a release from the department of health states.

Symptoms include:

  • High fever, up to 105 degrees F
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red or watery eyes

However, a person can also show more external signs of infection later on. Two or three days into the disease, white spots can start showing inside the mouth. After that, a person could have red spots and bumps all over the body three to five days after symptoms begin to show.

Two to three days after symptoms begin, an infected person may have tiny white spots appear inside of the mouth.

Depending on your age, these symptoms could turn deadly.

“Children younger than 5 years of age and adults older than 20 are more likely to suffer from measles complications,” the release states. “Common complications may include ear infections, hearing loss, and diarrhea. Severe complications may include pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and death. One measles case is also expected to result in 12-18 additional cases. Up to 20-30 percent of infected people have complications from the disease.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one out of four people who get measles will be hospitalized; one out of 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling (encephalitis) which may lead to brain damage; and one or two out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care.”

You can find more information at www.alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization/assets/measlesflyer.pdf or https://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/. You can also call the ADPH Immunization Division at 800-469-4599.


Clarification: The person’s gender is unknown. We have reformatted the article to reflect that.

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