One Trip To India Caused a Statewide Measles Outbreak

10:41 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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Stokes County, NC-- A man in Stokes County is the source of the measles outbreak after taking a trip to India without receiving the recommended vaccine.

Since the measles outbreak started in Stokes county, there have been 19 confirmed cases across the state.

DHHS Issues A Public Health Advisory After Measles Outbreak

WFMY News 2, looked into where the outbreak came from. Scott Lenhart, Stokes County Health Director, told WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford the source is a man in his late twenties or early thirties from the Prabhupada Village in Stokes County. He took a trip to India at the end of March, where he contracted measles and brought it back to the United States.

"In this case, the individual who traveled did not have the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine prior to leaving the country. The country where he traveled is endemic with measles," explained Amy Parker Fiebelkorn , an epidemiologist for the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of the time vaccines are not required, therefore it's up to the traveler to make sure they get vaccinated to protect themselves and prevent outbreaks like this one.

Fiebelkorn said, "The best that we can do is inform people of the risks involved in traveling internationally and not being vaccinated and provide the recommendations that we have."

Measles Vaccination Information For People Planning To Travel

The Guilford County Department of Public Health has one of the only international travel programs in the surrounding area.

They encourage clients to come in and talk about their travel plans well before they leave. Connie Weant sees clients that are traveling internationally for business, school, or missionary trips.

Weant uses a computer program that looks up the country they are traveling to and indicates what vaccines are required or recommended. Almost all vaccines are recommended.

"The only thing that's really required sometimes when they travel would be the yellow fever vaccine. We give them a special certificate to take with them when they do leave the country," said Weant.

Sometimes vaccines can be expensive or take time to build immunity. It's important to plan ahead of an international trip to ensure you're vaccinations comply with the recommendations. 

Transmission of Measles

WFMY News 2, CDC, Stokes County Health Department, Guilford County Health Department

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