A recent measles outbreak has the Starke County Health Department reminding area residents to have up-to-date vaccinations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 102 cases of the disease were reported in the U.S. in January. Measles is considered highly contagious.
While Indiana has seen no reported cases, Illinois and Michigan have had individuals report symptoms. Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch says it’s become a problem.
“It’s just a matter of where they were vaccinated, when they were vaccinated, did they complete the vaccination, and again you’re dealing with humans so not everybody is exactly the same, so not everyone is able to build an immunity when they receive a vaccine,” says Lynch. “The majority, the vast majority do.”
Those vaccines are given subcutaneously over two doses. The shots have to be given several weeks apart to ensure proper administration, according to Lynch.
Infected individuals can be symptom-free for 12 hours before they begin showing feeling ill, but can still spread the disease. Symptoms can include spots inside the mouth, sensitivity to light, and sleepiness.
Lynch says medical practices refusing treatment, or closing, means more impacts could be felt than just the patients infected.
“If they’re declining services to any of their patients, it can affect anyone and everyone, at least out of that practice,” says Lynch.
Despite the CDC declaring the disease had been eliminated from the U.S. about 15 years ago, 644 cases were reported just last year. This could be due to individuals refusing, or failing, to receive proper vaccination.
Lynch says there are two exemptions in Indiana: religious and medical.