Infectious disease doctor weighs in on measles outbreak spanning 10 states

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FLINT (WJRT) (02/13/19) -- 101. That is how many cases of the measles have been confirmed by the CDC.

The outbreak currently spans 10 states. Michigan is not included.

"Measles is a virus that's contagious through droplets in the air, causes fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis, red eyes and rash," said Dr. Danielle Osterholzer, Director of Infectious Diseases for Hurley Medical Center.

She says the disease is so rare, that it was pretty much eradicated in the U.S. in the early 2000s.

"What happens is people bring it in from other countries, typically countries where there's no vaccination programs for measles, and now we have pockets of un-vaccinated people in the United States," she said.

Dr. Osterholzer said the disease is so contagious, it can linger in the air around an infected person for up to 2 hours.

As for the 100 or so people that have been diagnosed in the U.S.?

"I find it very alarming. 1 out of 1,000 people will die of the illness if they get infected with measles."

Dr. Osterholzer says the only sure way to prevent it is getting vaccinated.

"It's in the MMR, so measles mumps rubella vaccination. It's supposed to be given around 1 year of age and then before kids go to kindergarten typically."

Currently, there is no treatment for measles, just supportive care.

"The vaccination is very efficacious, over 95 percent immunity if someone gets both vaccines."

If you have any concerns or questions, she advises to talk to your doctor.

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