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You can help prevent measles in Jasper County

HOMENEWS & EVENTSPRESS RELEASES

February 18, 2015

The United States is currently experiencing a large, multi-state outbreak of measles linked to an amusement park in California. More than 100 people from 17 states in the U.S. have been confirmed as having measles. As of today, there are no confirmed measles cases in Iowa. Confirmed cases of measles have been identified in states surrounding Iowa, including Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. None of the recent cases have reported travel to Iowa during their infectious periods

“This national measles outbreak has brought the protection provided by vaccinations back into the spotlight,” said Jasper County Public Health Director Tammy Stapp. “It’s always important to keep your vaccinations up-to-date, but during times like this, when we know a virus is circulating in many states, it’s especially critical to check with your health-care provider to be sure you and your family’s vaccinations are current.”

The best way to prevent measles is to get the measles-mumps-rubella shot (called MMR). Two doses of MMR will provide more than 99 percent of people lifelong protection against measles.

Two doses of MMR are required for elementary and secondary school entry in Iowa. The first dose should be given at 12 months of age and the second dose can be administered as soon as 28 days later (however, the second dose is usually administered as part of the kindergarten shots given between 4-6 years of age). Generally, people who started elementary school in Iowa after 1991 and were up-to-date on all school entry vaccine requirements have received two doses of MMR vaccine.

It is recommended that adults born in 1957 or later receive at least one dose of MMR vaccine, or have a laboratory test proving that they are immune and are protected. It is assumed that people born in the U.S. prior to 1957 were likely infected with the measles virus and therefore have presumptive immunity. In addition, two doses of MMR is recommended for adults of all ages who work or volunteer in health-care facilities, travel internationally, or are students in a post-secondary institution, if they do not have laboratory proof of immunity.

Giving vaccines to those who may have already had measles or may have already received the recommended vaccination is not harmful; it only boosts immunity. Therefore, if someone is unable to verify prior vaccination or history of illness, the easiest, quickest and most appropriate thing to do is to vaccinate the individual.

Measles starts with a high fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Three to seven days after the fever, a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It usually starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. The rash can last for a week, and coughing can last for 10 days.

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases on earth; this is why Jasper County Public Health and local public health agencies statewide work with the Iowa Department of Public Health to immediately alert the public about possible exposure to measles if a person is confirmed to have this disease. If a resident of Jasper County would have measles, all residents would be notified of places, times and locations where they could have been exposed, as well as locations of emergency vaccination clinics.

You can learn more about measles by visiting http://bit.ly/15LPJhS.

Skiff Medical Center
204 N. 4th Ave E.
Newton, Iowa 50208
Phone: (641) 792-1273
Toll-free: (888) 792-1273

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Skiff Medical Center, a member of Mercy Health Network, is located in Newton, Iowa. We provide services to Jasper County residents in all major health areas, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, obstetrics, emergency medicine, hospice, home care, laboratory, respiratory, audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The Skiff Specialty Clinic hosts more than 20 physicians specializing in cardiology, dermatology, ENT, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, pulmonology and urology.
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