Health department confirms second case of measles in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana state health officials are investigating another confirmed case of measles in New Orleans.

The illness was confirmed through laboratory testing in New Orleans resident who recently traveled out of the country.  This case is not related to a positive measles case reported earlier in April of this year. In both cases, the people who contracted the illness were not vaccinated.

Dr. Parham Jaberi, assistant state health officer, said the department is confident that the two cases are unrelated.

“It can take anywhere from 10 to 21 days after a person comes in contact with someone with measles for that person to develop symptoms. We are beyond 21 days since the last reported case,” he said.

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that can spread rapidly amongs people who are not vaccinated.  In extreme cases, the illness can lead to hospitalization and even death.

The person who contracted measles had recently traveled out of the country and is now under care in a New Orleans hospital.

The state Office of Public Health is working to identify and notify those who may have come into contact with this person and to implement measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The best protection and way to prevent measles is to have had two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, known as MMR. Two doses are about 97 percent effective against measles. If you are unsure of your vaccination records, check with your primary-care provider. Even a single dose of MMR up to 72 hours after exposure to someone with measles can prevent it or greatly reduce symptoms.

MMR vaccine is available at Orleans and Jefferson Parish Health Units listed below. Call 504-658-2540 to schedule an appointment.

 

New Orleans Parish Health Unit – Delgado Clinic
517 N. Rampart Street
New Orleans, La. 70112
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Metairie Parish Health Unit
111 N. Causeway Blvd.
Metairie, La. 70001
Monday, Tuesday, Friday
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Marrero Parish Health Unit
1855 Ames Blvd.
Marrero, La. 70072
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

According to the CDC, the symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected.

Measles typically begins with high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth of a patient.

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feed. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104° Fahrenheit.

After a few days, the fever subsides and rash fades.

 

It can take anywhere from 10 to 21 days after a person comes in contact with someone with measles for that person to develop symptoms. These typically begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, followed by a rash that typically spreads from the head to the rest of the body. In some cases, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth two to three days after the onset of symptoms. Common complications for measles include ear infections and diarrhea, seen in about 10 percent of patients.

A person is contagious four days before the appearance of rash and four days after the onset of rash. The highly contagious virus spreads easily by coughing, sneezing or even being in the same room with an infected person.

Because there is no cure, treatment is geared toward alleviating symptoms. Rest, pain and fever reducers, fluids, vitamin A supplements and the use of a humidifier are often recommended.

Health authorities declared measles eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but it is still common in other parts of the world.

In addition to practicing good hand hygiene habits, avoid sharing drinks, food and utensils.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should stay home, isolate as much as possible and contact their primary care physician immediately.