No Measles Cases in South Carolina

By Jennifer Read, Public Health Outreach Director

measlesBy now you’ve likely heard about the measles outbreak associated with travel to Disneyland in California. CDC is reporting 102 measles cases so far this year in multiple states, most of them stemming from the Disneyland outbreak that began in late December 2014. The vast majority of these cases occurred among individuals who had not been vaccinated.

Here in South Carolina, we’re fortunate that no cases of measles have been reported to DHEC. In fact, a review of our current and historical records shows there have not been any instances of measles in South Carolina as far back as 1999.

Measles is among the most contagious diseases known. It is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. After an infected person leaves a location, the measles virus remains alive for up to 2 hours on surfaces and in the air.

There are countries where measles is still active and unvaccinated travelers returning from one of these countries could become infected and bring measles back to the U.S. Thus, the concern for outbreaks is related to transmission to people in our communities who are not adequately vaccinated.

From a public health perspective, the current outbreak underscores the ongoing risk of measles and the importance of getting vaccinated to protect yourself and your family. The measles (MMR) vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the measles and to prevent potential outbreaks.

The MMR vaccine is recommended for all infants at 12 months of age and is a requirement to attend day care or school in South Carolina. Based on school reports to DHEC for 778,588 students on the 45th day of school for the current school year (2014-15), most South Carolina students were up to date on all their vaccines; 5,826 (0.75%) students had a religious exemption and 1,540 (0.2%) students had a medical exemption.

Our Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology will continue to monitor the national outbreak and have sent out a CDC Health Advisory through our Health Alert Network to help keep health care providers, school nurses and our partners updated on this national outbreak investigation.

If you haven’t been vaccinated against the measles, DHEC encourages you to talk to your health care provider.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s