DPH Confirms Two Cases of Measles in Fairfield County

Only three cases reported in Connecticut in the previous 7 years combined.

Photo Credit: Dave Haygarth via Flickr
Photo Credit: Dave Haygarth via Flickr
Connecticut’s Department of Public Health (DPH) notified health care providers and local health departments about two confirmed cases of measles in Fairfield County last week.

The two cases in Fairfield County — an infant and an adult — are unrelated, according to DPH Director of Communications William Gerrish. 

The first case reported seeing a rash as early as Feb. 5 and the second on Feb. 12. What towns the cases were reported in was not immediately available.

“The sources of these cases is unknown,” Gerrish said Tuesday, though he noted that “a handful of measles cases have been reported recently from all states bordering Connecticut.”

Though currently rare due to widespread vaccination, measles is highly contagious and potentially deadly.

“The average incubation period of measles — from contact with a case until onset of rash — is 14 days, with a range of 7-21 days,” Gerrish explained. “Cases are considered infectious from 4 days before rash onset through 4 days after.”

During that time, measles is very infectious and can be transferred by a cough or sneeze.

“It is highly contagious,” Pomperaug Health District Public Health Nurse Sandy Weinberg warned. “If someone is not protected — not vaccinated or immune compromised — they are at risk.”

Weinberg said children under 5 years and adults over 20 are most susceptible to serious complications, such as pneumonia or acute encephalitis (swelling of the brain), which can lead to brain damage.

At the onset, measles presents with a rash at the hairline that gradually moves to the face and upper neck before continuing down the entire body.

If someone suspects they might be infected, Weinberg urged them to call their doctor first before going straight to the office or emergency room, as the bug is so contagious the doctor will likely make special provisions or ask that the patient come at the end of the day.

People born after 1957 who have not received a measles vaccine or been infected before are “considered to be highly susceptible,” Gerrish said. “All people in this age group are recommended to see their health care provider to receive two doses of measles-containing vaccine.”

With the majority of parents opting to vaccinate children at birth, reported cases in Connecticut have become rare, with only three confirmed between 2007 and 2013 (one case in 2010, 2011 and 2012), according to the DPH.

State and local health departments are currently working to identify any possible secondary cases in Fairfield County and throughout the state, “especially among those who have never been vaccinated for measles,” Gerrish said.

Joe Mancini March 12, 2014 at 03:47 PM
Sandy Weinberg-perhaps we should have more info before making statements “It is highly contagious,” Pomperaug Health District Public Health Nurse Susan Weinberg warned. “If someone is not protected — not vaccinated or immune compromised — they are at risk.” If these 2 cases are indeed involve vaccinated people then people that are vaccinated will have a false sense of security.
Joe Mancini March 12, 2014 at 03:48 PM
Emanon-is that a tongue in cheek comment, because sarcasm can be lost in transaltion. I'm thinking and hoping it is.
MikeP March 12, 2014 at 04:21 PM
There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch
Jenna March 12, 2014 at 06:25 PM
Joe maybe you should do your own research. Measles is highly contagious and if you aren't vaccinated and around someone who has it you are at high risk.
bradleyweinstein March 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM
Jenna-Just reading through the comments. As someone who has done vast research on vaccines, I believe what Joe is saying is that he is not questioning how contagious measles are, but rather the efficacy of the vaccinations.


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