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Benton County Public Health Director and Virginia Gay Hospital Director of Home Health, Melissa Smith, RN, BSN is making the public aware of information recently released regarding a measles case in the state of Iowa.

Over the weekend, through testing from the State Hygienic Lab, a Northeastern Iowan was confirmed to be infected with measles. The individual was unvaccinated and recently returned from Israel, where measles transmission is occurring.

The individual has cooperated with public health officials. Public health officials are following up with potentially exposed persons to ensure they are vaccinated against measles; however, at this time there is no indication there is any threat to the public.

This is the first case of measles in Iowa since 2011, and it serves as a reminder for all Iowans to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date. Vaccines prevent diseases and save lives.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has an infographic depicting what Iowans should know about the measles. If you think you might have the measles stay home until you can see your health care provider. It is important to call your health care provider and tell them you may have the measles. They will instruct you on how to be seen safely as you should not sit in the waiting room or come through the main entrance. The risk is that if you do have measles, anyone in that area who is not vaccinated, for instance, babies, will get sick.

Other information included on the infographic includes (click here to download a .pdf version of “What Iowans Should Know About MEASLES):

Initial Symptoms (7-21 days post exposure)
• High Fever (may spike to > 104º F)
• Cough
• Red Eyes
• Runny Nose
• Small Bluish Spots surrounded by a Red Region on the inside of the cheek

Rash (3-5 days after fever onset)
• A red, blotchy rash begins on the face at the hairline and progresses downward and outward towards the hands and feet.

Travel (21 days before onset)
• Have you traveled anywhere in the last 21 days where measles cases have been reported (like Minnesota or Nebraska)?
• Have you had contact with someone who has measles?

MMR Vaccination
The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated.
• One dose is 93%-95% effective against measles.
• Two doses are 97%-99% effective against measles.

What To Do If You Think You Might Have Measles
• Call your health care provider and tell them you may have measles. They will give you instructions on how to be seen safely. — You should not sit in the waiting room or come through the main entrance because if you do have measles anyone in that area who is not vaccinated (like babies) will get sick.
• Stay home until you see your health care provider.

— Infographic Source: Iowa Department of Public Health, 5/5/17

If you have questions or concerns regarding vaccines and vaccination schedules for your family, your best resource is your primary health care provider. Learn more about the providers in all the Virginia Gay family medical clinics located in Benton County by visiting, www.myvgh.org.