Officials with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today said one case of measles (Rubeola) has been identified in Lancaster County. Officials say the local case is a pre-school aged child who had received an initial measles immunization several years earlier. While the child is no longer contagious, the source of the exposure is still being investigated. No schools or child cares are connected to this case, and it does not appear to be connected to the recent case in the Omaha-Blair area.
The measles virus lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person and can be spread through coughing and sneezing. The virus also can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. Symptoms generally begin within seven to 14 days after exposure. Initial symptoms are a fever over 101 degrees, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough. After a few days, a rash will begin as flat red spots on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. Infected people can spread measles from four days before to four days after the rash appears.
"To prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease to a health provider's office, it's important to contact the provider by phone before taking a person with symptoms to the office," said Judy Halstead, Health Director.
Two doses of measles-containing vaccine (MMR vaccine) are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles. Measles vaccines have been available in the United States since 1963, and two doses have been recommended since 1989. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend all children get the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at four through six years of age. Those who are unsure of their vaccination status, should check with their health care provider. Either a test can be ordered to check for measles immunity or a measles vaccine can be obtained.
More information on measles is available at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/index.html.