GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Reported cases of measles in Michigan have hit a high unseen in two decades.
Angela Minicuci with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has tallied 10 cases of measles so far this year — the highest case count since 1998. Minicuci says 9 of the cases are from Washtenaw County; the remaining case is from Oakland County.
Michigan is among 21 states and the District of Columbia that have reported 107 cases of measles through July 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC says the majority of cases involve people who were not vaccinated and traveled to a country where measles is common.
The first measles vaccine is typically given to an infant when they reach a year old, or at 6 months old if they are traveling to a country where the virus is prevalent.
“The little kids don’t have the immune system that we do as older children and adults to fight off things, and so that’s why we start vaccinations for the measles at 12 months,” said Dr. Bill Bush, pediatrician in chief of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
His message to parents considering opting their child out of the vaccine:
“Really consider those risks. The diseases we can prevent with vaccines not only prevent children from dying, but it also spreading to unvaccinated babies who can’t yet receive their vaccines, adults who are at risk as they get older of getting diseases (now) that their immunity may have now decreased.”
Symptoms generally pop up 7-14 days after a person is infected, and include high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Two or three days after symptoms set in, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after the start of symptoms, the patient will suffer a rash that usually begins as flat red spots on the face and spreads downward to the rest of the body. The rash may be accompanied by a fever that could spike to more than 104 degrees.
In 2017, 118 people from 15 states and the District of Columbia reported contracting measles. That was up from 86 people in 2016, but down dramatically from the 2014 record of 667 cases nationwide.
The 2014 cases were related to nearly two-dozen outbreaks, the largest of which primarily involved unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio.