Measles reaches Oklahoma: What you should do

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OCCHD Epidemiologists are monitoring facts surrounding the confirmed measles case in Okmulgee County. OCCHD works closely with Tulsa County Health and the Oklahoma Department of Health regarding any possible outbreaks of preventable diseases.

OCCHD nurses strongly recommend parents to make sure your child is current on the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccinations. Measles is an extremely contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Measles starts with a fever, then a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. A rash of tiny, red spots breaks out normally at the head eventually progressing to the rest of the body.

Prevention tips include:
The Centers for Disease Control recommends children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at four through six years of age. Teens and adults should also be up-to-date on their MMR vaccination. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

OCCHD Clinical Services Manager Kerri Stewart said, “MMR shots are available through your doctor and through the Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. There is no cost for vaccines when clients are 18 years and under if they qualify for VFC vaccines. The qualifiers are no insurance, underinsured (have insurance but doesn’t cover vaccines), Medicaid, or Medicaid eligible, Alaskan Native or Native American.”

It is important to note measles is imported when an unvaccinated traveler visits a country or region with measles then travels back to the United States and exposes unvaccinated individuals here. “We urge anyone planning to travel internationally to get yourself and all family members to be vaccinated prior to travel.” said Stewart.

Facts about the MMR vaccine:
The scientific community has found there is no link between autism and immunizations. CDC and FDA are always reviewing data to make sure vaccines are providing safe and effective protection against serious diseases.