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Suspected measles case in unvaccinated child a false alarm

Baltimore County child does not have measles.

A Baltimore County child who came to Sinai Hospital in the city with a fever and rash earlier this month recently does not have measles, health officials said Monday.

Officials had suspected the highly contagious virus because the child did not received the two doses of vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An outbreak of the disease earlier this year stemming from unvaccinated children in Los Angeles had put public health officials on heightened alert for the disease.

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The CDC confirmed the Maryland child does not have measles.

"Out of an abundance of caution, given how contagious measles is, we treated this case as if it were measles," said Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City health commissioner. "This was an excellent example of public health collaboration between health officials in Baltimore County and Baltimore City as well as Sinai Hospital and experts at the state and federal levels. Let's use this opportunity as a wake-up call to the importance of vaccinations as our children return to school this fall."

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In general, Maryland's children have high vaccination rates and low infection rates. There have been only three confirmed cases of measles in Maryland in the past five years, none in Baltimore or Baltimore County. A 2014-2015 state survey indicates that 99.2 percent of kindergartners and 99.4 percent of grade-school children were immunized.

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