There have been over 550 cases of measles so far this year, and now Mississippi residents are at risk of catching the highly contagious disease. MPB’s Alexandra Watts reports who is at risk and how it affects the state.
Mississippians are at immediate risk of exposure to measles after a man with a contagious case traveled through the state this month and stopped at two Hattiesburg restaurants.
On April 9, the man went to a Subway inside a Circle K on Highway 11 between 2 and 4 p.m. On April 10, he was at a Raising Cane’s on Hardy Street between 10 and 11 p.m.
Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer said symptoms are a fever followed by a cough, runny nose, red eyes and a rash of small red spots, after about 11 days of exposure.
“If you think you have the symptoms of measles, and it really would only be the people who were exposed, call your doctor [and] call the ER first before you go in. Not that they won’t see you, but they can triage you to an isolation room," Dobbs said. "Measles is spread through the air, so they want to put you in a location that sequesters the air from the rest of the community.”
State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said measles is highly contagious and anyone can be vaccinated.
“Even if you are an adult, now is the opportunity to get up to date, because it’s always possible that we may have additional measles exposures with the outbreaks that are occurring in the United States right now," Byers said.
The number of measles cases so far in 2019 is higher than the reported number of cases for all of 2018.