(BLOOMINGTON) - State health officials Friday confirmed a case of measles in a student at Indiana University.
The Herald-Times reports that the student did not attend classes while infectious and does not live on campus, according to a news release by the Indiana State Department of Health.
The student visited the IU Health Bloomington Hospital emergency department and a CVS Pharmacy while infectious on March 24.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, droplets spray into the air and can remain active and contagious for up to two hours.
Hospital spokeswoman Amanda Roach says a team of hospital staff spent several hours Friday afternoon phoning all 31 people who were in the hospital's ED at the same time as the infected student -- and up to two hours after the patient had left -- notifying them that they may have been exposed to the virus.
Roach says even if people visited the ED on March 24, they should not worry about possible exposure to measles unless they have been directly contacted by the hospital.
Visitors to the CVS Pharmacy at 1000 North College Ave. from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 24 may also have been exposed to the measles virus, the release says. Individuals who cannot verify two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine or who were born in 1957 or later should contact their health care provider, adding that individuals who develop symptoms of measles should stay home and call their health care provider as well as the Monroe County Health Department at 812-349-2543.
On March 25, the individual visited the IU Student Health Center at 600 N. Jordan Ave. while infectious. But risk of exposure at that location is very low, the news release says, because the individual wore a mask while there. Nonetheless, the Student Health Center is directly contacting a small number of patients who may have been exposed.
In the meantime, the Indiana State Department of Health and Monroe County Health Department are also working to identify potential additional cases and to prevent further transmission of the disease.
Measles is rare in the United States due to the widespread availability of the MMR vaccine, but visitors from other countries or U.S. citizens traveling abroad can become infected.
More than 95 percent of people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to measles, and more than 99 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 health care providers to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date.
Children are routinely vaccinated for measles at 1 year of age, and again at 4 to 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. Individuals born before 1957 are presumed to be immune to measles because they likely have had the necessary shots.
You can access your immunization records from your doctor or through the secure online tool MyVaxIndiana by requesting a PIN from your health care provider. Go to www.MyVaxIndiana.in.gov to learn more.
It begins with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes about 7-10 days after exposure. The fever increases and can get as high as 105 degrees. Two to four days later, a rash starts on the face and upper neck. 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 in the same order in which it appeared.
What you can do
If you are experiencing the symptoms of measles, stay home and call your doctor. 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, remain home and away from others -- especially un-vaccinated infants, people with diseases affecting their immune systems, and pregnant women.
For more information about measles, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/measles.
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