Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed the three probable cases of measles identified by the Bucks County Health Department and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania earlier this month.
While all three individuals are recovering, county Health Director Dr. David Damsker credits widespread immunization practices for preventing the public spread of these cases.
“This outbreak demonstrates the importance of herd immunity," Damsker said in a release. “In situations where large majorities of the population are already vaccinated, it’s difficult for an outbreak to continue very far. Additionally, I really want to thank the Council Rock School District for their complete cooperation during this difficult endeavor. We couldn’t have been successful without their assistance.”
The Health Department is maintaining surveillance in the exposed groups that were identified during the outbreak, and will continue to do so.
As noted in a previous county news release, most people in the United States are immune to measles, either because they received the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine in childhood, or because they were exposed to measles in the pre-vaccine era (before 1957). Infants less than one year of age are too young to have received the MMR vaccine.
The public should be aware that measles is caused by a highly contagious virus. Symptoms will begin one to two weeks after exposure and include a runny nose, watery eyes, cough and a high fever. After four days, a raised, red rash starts to spread on the face, down the body and out to the arms and legs. The rash usually lasts four to seven (4-7) days. An individual with measles can spread the virus to others for four days before and four days after the rash begins.
Click here for comprehensive information about measles at the Centers for Disease Control website.