Tennessee Department of Health Confirms First Measles Case of 2019


NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – A person in eastern Tennessee tested positive for measles – making it the state's first confirmed case in 2019.

The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed that it is investigating the case, adding that all Tennessians need to be aware of measles and its symptoms.

The state has had only 15 measles cases in the past decade due to relatively high vaccination rates, the department said.

"Our efforts are focused on preventing the spread of the disease to others," said TDH state epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. "This measles outbreak is a reminder of the importance of vaccines and how they can especially protect our most vulnerable, including infants and people with compromised immune systems."

Symptoms may include: fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots on the mouth and it is typically accompanied by a red and irregular eruption that begins on the face and spreads through the body.

The health department said that measles can be deadly in one to two out of 1,000 cases.

The virus is highly contagious and can remain in the air or live on surfaces for up to two hours.

Health officials said people recently infected with measles may not have any symptoms but may transmit the virus for about five days before the typical measles outbreak appears.

All Tennesseans were asked to make sure they are up-to-date on the MMR vaccine. All children should have their first measles vaccination at 12 and 15 months of age.

If you think you or a loved one has measles, you should first call a health center before going to one to prevent the spread of the virus to other people. Additional questions can be answered by calling the department's hotline at 865-549-5343, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


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