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Measles in Maryland a reminder to vaccinate, officials say

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is alerting people to the risk of possible measles exposure in Prince George's County.

A person who acquired the viral illness overseas visited several places in Prince George's County between May 8 and being admitted to Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on May 13.

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While those who have had at least one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine are at low risk of acquiring measles, it is highly contagious among the unvaccinated, spreading through the air due to coughing and sneezing. Several outbreaks in recent years have been attributed to lower rates of vaccinations in some communities.

The illness can begin with fever, sneezing, coughing and sore throat, then progress to a red rash covering the face and body. A person infected on May 15 might develop their first symptoms as late as June 5, according to a DHMH media release.

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Carroll County and Maryland on the whole are well-vaccinated against measles, but officials say to take nothing for granted

This particular instance probably presents a low risk to people in Carroll County, unless they were in certain locations in Prince George's County in early May, but it does serve as a reminder of the importance of vaccinations, according to Carroll County's Deputy Health Officer Dr. Henry Taylor. Some adults may need to talk to their doctor about a measles booster vaccination, although measles is not the only vaccination to keep up on.

"Situations like this remind us of the importance of keeping up-to-date with our vaccinations," he aid. "We think about it for children and pregnant women, or after Oct. 1 for influenza. But tetanus should be 'boosted' every 10 years, and a single Tdap booster also protects you against pertussis and diphtheria."

The MMR vaccine is typically given twice in childhood, first between 12 and 15 months of age and then again before entering kindergarten. Maryland's vaccine schedule can be found online at phpa.health.maryland.gov/OIDEOR/IMMUN/Pages/back-to-school-immunization-requirements.aspx, and DHMH has set up a resource line for questions at 410-795-7365.

Further resources about vaccinations important for travelers can be found www.cdc.gov/features/vaccines-travel.

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410-857-3317



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