Measles Information

February 15, 2012

Recently there have been a number of confirmed cases of measles in Boone and Hamilton Counties.  While there are currently no confirmed or suspected cases in Carmel Clay Schools, we are monitoring the situation on a daily basis.  The potential for this measles outbreak to spread across the state to other pockets of unvaccinated Hoosiers does exist.

As always, Carmel Clay Schools takes the health and safety of our students and staff seriously.  Because of that, we want to share some important information with you regarding measles and the procedures that will be followed at our schools IF a case should be confirmed.

CCS PROCEDURES

Communication
Carmel Clay Schools will utilize the school messenger notification system to inform parents if there is a confirmed case of measles at one of our schools.   

CCS Response to Measles Outbreak
Be aware that one confirmed case in a school setting constitutes an outbreak and will trigger outbreak procedures as designated by the state and local health department.

  • All staff and students who cannot provide proof of immunity will be advised to receive a measles-containing vaccine and will be readmitted to school upon presenting documentation of immunization from a medical provider.
  • Those who remain unvaccinated will be excluded from school for 21 days after the last measles case is identified – as required by the Indiana Department of Health.

MEASLES INFORMATION

What is measles?
Measles is a viral rash illness that is very contagious.  Currently, measles is rare in the United States, but outbreaks still occur as a result of travel to or from other parts of the world.  Measles may cause serious complications, including ear infection, pneumonia, and encephalitis (brain swelling).  In some cases, measles may be fatal, especially in children under 5 years of age.

What are the symptoms of measles?
People with measles generally appear very ill. Early symptoms of measles include:

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Spots inside the mouth resembling grains of salt (Koplik’s spots)
  • Increased sensitivity to light

Around the fourth day of illness, the fever usually increases (often to over 101°F), and a blotchy red (maculopapular) rash appears on the face and spreads downward to the rest of the body. The rash lasts about 4 or 5 days and then gradually fades in the same order it appeared.

How contagious is measles?
Measles is extremely contagious in unvaccinated populations.  Patients with measles are contagious from the onset of symptoms until four days after rash onset.  The incubation period from exposure until symptoms develop is typically 10-14 days, but may range from 7-21 days. 

How is measles spread?
Measles is spread by contact with the nose or throat secretions of an infected person. This can happen when someone coughs or sneezes near someone else or someone touches objects contaminated with nose or throat drainage. Measles is extremely contagious, and virus particles can remain viable in the air up to two hours.

Who is at risk for measles?
Anyone who has not received two doses of measles-containing vaccine is at risk for measles. 

How do I know if I have measles?
Only a physician can diagnose measles. See your health care provider if you have symptoms that match those described above. Many other organisms can cause rash illnesses.  If you have been vaccinated for measles, it is very unlikely that you have the disease.

How is measles treated?
Since measles is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective.  Currently, there are no antiviral medications used to treat measles.  Treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms of the illness.

How can measles be prevented?
The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and effective for preventing measles infection.  Carmel Clay Schools requires proof of vaccination or immunity to measles before entry.  If you have not had measles and/or have no record of having the MMR vaccine, see your health care provider to decide if you should receive the vaccine. Two doses of vaccine normally provide lifelong immunity.

Measles Hotline
The Indiana State Department of Health has established a hotline to help answer questions from the general public. The hotline service will be available beginning February 15, 2012.

  • The hotline number is 1-877-826-0011 (TTY/TTD 1-888-561-0044).
  • State Health Department staff will be on-hand during the hours of 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday to answer questions.
  • Note: Immunization status cannot be verified through this hotline. Individuals unsure of vaccination status are encouraged to contact your health care provider, as they have access to the Indiana Immunization Registry.