Shelby County officials investigating two measles cases

Officials from the Shelby County Health Department in Tennessee have confirmed two separate cases of measles earlier this week.

The SCHD is working closely with the Tennessee Department of Health in looking into two cases of measles following reports from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported two confirmed cases of measles in the Memphis area. There have only been nine cases of the disease in Tennessee over the last 12 years.

“It’s something that is extremely rare in the state of Tennessee for us to have measles cases and what we are focused on right now is preventing the spread of the disease to additional people,” said SCHD spokesman David Sweat in a statement.

While most sufferers eventually make full recoveries from measles, the disease can, in some instances, lead to complications, and may even be fatal. With this in mind, the SCHD is advising Shelby county residents to get vaccines and take note of the signs and symptoms of the disease.

“We have a lot of information on the locations where these individuals were and who are the potential individuals who were exposed and we will reach out to them,” said SCHD director Alisa Haushalter. She noted that one of the victims is a child that may not be of school age, and that the other is an adult.

TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner released a statement advising Tennessee residents who aren’t vaccinated against measles yet to get the proper protection, as the disease can be most dangerous to infants and people with weakened immune systems.

“The measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR vaccine, is safe and readily available across Tennessee, and your health care provider can provide guidance for when people should get it,” he continued. “Please, be sure you are up-to date on MMR, and if you or someone you love have measles symptoms, ‘call before you go’ to a health care center to keep others from being exposed. If you have a question about what to do, call your health care provider or local health department.”