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IDOH confirms first measles case in Indiana since 2019

A handful of syringes for vaccines are placed in a plastic basket in a vaccine clinic.
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
/
IPB News
The IDOH said the disease is rare because of the availability of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine. Vaccination rates peaked in 2020, but have steadily declined since.

The Indiana Department of Health confirmed Friday the first measles case in the state since 2019. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus.

The department said the risk to the public is low, but also said a single case is considered an outbreak because of how easily it spreads. When someone who has measles sneezes or coughs, droplets in the air or on surfaces can infect other people for up to two hours.

The IDOH said the disease is rare because of the availability of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine. Vaccination rates peaked in 2020, but have steadily declined since.

The state estimates how many children complete their childhood vaccines, including against measles. The estimated coverage of MMR vaccines dropped from about 89 percent in 2020 to 78.4 percent in 2023.

The IDOH said people experiencing symptoms should stay home and call their provider before going to the doctor's office. Measles can cause cold-like symptoms, red eyes, tiny white spots inside the mouth, and rash.

The case was confirmed in Lake County. There will be three vaccine clinics in Lake County offering the MMR vaccination for people older than 1 years old.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

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Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.