The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) confirms two additional cases of measles in 2018, and both are related to international travel.
Measles is a vaccine-preventable respiratory infection that can result in hospitalization, pneumo-encephalitis and even death. This year, several countries in Europe are reporting significant outbreaks.
The patients were residents of Oakland and Washtenaw counties. Neither case is related to the two previous cases reported in Michigan, but all four cases were the result of exposure from outside of the country. This fact stresses the importance of protection by vaccination before embarking on international travel.
One of those affected arrived at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) on July 18 at 11:59p.m. at the international arrivals of the North Terminal. The individual did not notify officials of the illness but was considered contagious at the time.
Health officials have been contacting potentially exposed passengers from the flight. The second individual was not contagious during their flight or while at DTW.
Those who have potential exposure from DTW should watch for symptoms consistent with measles for 21 days after the possible exposure. Please contact your health care provider promptly if symptoms appear.
The illness begins with high fever, red eyes, coughing and runny nose; it is followed by a red, raised body rash starting on the head and face before spreading. Be advised that cases can be contagious a few days before the rash appears.
“Measles is easily spread, and these cases emphasize the importance of being up to date on all vaccinations for everyone’s protection,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “The bottom line is immunizations are the best way to protect our families and communities from the harmful, sometimes deadly consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.”
In 2017, there were 118 cases of measles infection in the U.S., which included two cases in Michigan. The majority of those infected were not already vaccinated.
For more information, visit IVaccinate.org.