DES MOINES, Iowa – The State Hygienic Lab is reporting a confirmed case of measles in northeastern Iowa.
The infected person was unvaccinated and recently returned from Israel, where public health officials say measles is active. The infected person is cooperating with public health and officials say they are following up with people who could have been exposed to the disease, but there does not appear any threat to the public at this time.
This is the first reported case of measles in Iowa since 2011.
The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health is stressing the importance of making sure your and your family’s vaccinations are up to date for Measles.
“It is extremely important not only for yourself but for our community to ensure you are vaccinated against the Measles,” states Bethany Bjorklund, Immunization Nurse at the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. “We have children who live in our area who are too young to be vaccinated, as well as children and adults with certain medical conditions who cannot receive the vaccine. These individuals rely on the rest of us, their community, to protect them.”
Health officials say measles is one of the most contagious diseases on the planet and spreads easily through the air by droplets of respiratory secretions from an infected person when they cough or sneeze. Once the infected person has coughed or sneezed, the virus can live in the air and on surfaces for up to 2 hours. Approximately 90% of individuals who are unvaccinated or do not have any immunity to measles will become infected if they are exposed to the virus. There is no treatment for measles and complications can include pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and death.