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Barry County safe from measles outbreak

Joan Van Houten Staff Writer. Barry County was not affected by the recent measles outbreak in Oakland County and the contagious disease has been contained, according to a report by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Oakland County had 43 confirmed cases, state officials said.

The last case in the measles outbreak was reported on April 17. The MDHHS is required to wait until the gestation period has passed to state the outbreak is over. That date is May 28.

“Cases of measles have increased across the country with the most cases being seen since 2000 when it was widely considered to be eradicated in the U.S., but there are several factors that may be contributing to the increase in the numbers we're seeing. First, it very well may be that we are a victim of our own success,” Lynn Sutfin, of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said.

In the past, vaccinations controlled the highly contagious disease so effectively that the public rarely heard about measles. But a growing number of parents have chosen not to have their children vaccinated, she said.

Also, some adults don't know if they had been vaccinated. In addition, international travel to and from countries still having trouble with measles outbreaks can contribute to the spread of the disease.

Sutfin suggests that adults who can't find their childhood vaccination records talk to their doctors about what to do and if getting the vaccinations again would be safe for them.

She said people should be aware that measles is highly contagious, so people traveling to another country should research the location and find out about the presence of contagious diseases.

“Talk with your doctor when traveling outside of the states or if you have questions or concerns about vaccinating your child,” Sutfin said. “With how easy it is to travel to other countries and the outbreaks frequently present overseas, there's no guarantee that this is the last we'll see of the measles or way to know if or when we'll be dealing with another outbreak here.”

The symptoms of measles generally appear seven to 14 days after a person is infected. Measles most often begins with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. A rash breaks out three to five days after symptoms begin.

Additional information is available at www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html.

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