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The first confirmed case in the Sooner State since May 2018, was announced on May 15, 2019 by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Measles Reported in Oklahoma

Measles has officially made its way back into Oklahoma. The first confirmed case in the Sooner State since May 2018, was announced on May 15, 2019 by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Child with Measles

The disease was identified in Okmulgee County. The person had recently traveled to various domestic and international destinations.

The virus is still common in many parts of the world with outbreaks occurring in Europe, Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines. Some travelers have developed the illness once returning to the United States. A high number of unvaccinated and under vaccinated people has contributed to the spread of the illness.

We sat down with David Chansolme, M.D., medical director for infection prevention for INTEGRIS Health, to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about measles.

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to measles should review their immunization records and contact their local county health department or the OSDH epidemiologist on-call at 800-234-5963.

To receive the MMR vaccine, contact a health care provider or a county health department.

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David Chansolme, M.D. Talks About Measles

David Chansolme, M.D., is an infectious disease physician at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center.

Frequently Asked Questions About Measles

Those most at-risk of contracting measles are unvaccinated and under vaccinated people. The illness is most dangerous for children under five years of age, adults over 20 years of age, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems. People are protected if they are immunized with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine after the first birthday, or if they were born during or before 1957.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus may remain airborne up to two hours in a room after the person with measles has left an indoor area. Those who are susceptible to measles usually develop symptoms about 10 days after exposure with a range of 7-21 days.

Symptoms of measles begin with a mild to moderate fever, runny nose, red eyes, and cough. A few days later, a rash appears starting on the face spreading to the rest of the body accompanied by a fever that can reach up to 105 degrees. Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children and adults over 20. The disease can also cause serious problems in pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. A person with measles can spread the virus up to four days before the onset of the rash and until four days after the rash begins.

Persons with measles can also develop diarrhea, ear infections, and/or pneumonia. In certain cases, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) or death can occur.

There is no treatment for measles. However, health care providers may treat the symptoms of measles with bed rest, plenty of fluids, and anti-fever medications.

Those who think they may have been at risk of exposure should review their immunization records and contact their local county health department or the OSDH epidemiologist on-call at 800-234-5963. They should stay in the confines of their own home and make a list of locations they have visited.

Individuals who were exposed and are not experiencing symptoms of illness do not need to be evaluated by a health care provider.

Anyone who does have symptoms should contact a health care provider before presenting for care to discuss instructions for check-in and registration.

Approximately 90 percent of U.S. cases reported so far this year were either unvaccinated or had an unknown history of vaccination against measles. Measles can be prevented with the measles vaccine usually given in combination with rubella and mumps, called MMR vaccine, and is recommended for all children at 12 to 15 months of age and again at 4 to 6 years of age. Two doses of vaccine normally provide lifelong immunity.

If a person has not received a second dose of the vaccine between 4 to 6 years of age, the booster dose may be given at any age thereafter. To receive the MMR vaccine or a booster, contact a health care provider or a county health department.

Yes, MMR is safe and effective in preventing measles. However, like other medicines, it can cause side effects in some persons. Contact your local health care provider or your county health department for more information about the vaccine.

Yes, new cases of measles will be reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. They will also share any possible locations and timeframes of concern.