State health officials are urging the public to make sure children have received their measles vaccinations, in the wake of an outbreak that started at Disneyland in California and has resulted in cases popping up in other states.
While none of those cases have been reported in the Badger State, Wisconsin Immunization Program director Dan Hopfensberger notes it could be just a plane ride away. “It’s certainly a possibility where we could have contacts from individuals in other states, being in contact with Wisconsin residents or people visiting Wisconsin.”
Hopfensberger says it’s estimated that about 93 percent of children in the state have received a vaccination that protects against measles, but that still leaves thousands who could be at risk. In many cases, it’s because they are unable to get vaccinated due to health issues or they are just too young. By making sure you and your children are up to date on the vaccine, he says “you’re not only protecting yourself and your children, but you’re also protecting the individuals who can’t get immunized.”
Hopfensberger notes that those carrying the disease pose a risk because measles is airborne, and can remain contagious in a room for up to two hours. People can also become contagious before showing symptoms, which include a rash, cough, and high fever.
The Centers for Disease Control reported 102 measles cases nationwide last month, with over half of those connected to the California outbreak that started in mid-December. Wisconsin had just two cases of the measles reported in 2014.