The Maryland Department of Health announced on April 19 a fourth case of measles confirmed in a Maryland resident. Three Pikesville locations have been identified where people may have been exposed, during the following times:
- 4000 Old Court Road in Pikesville, on Tuesday, April 16, from 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- 4000 Old Court Road in Pikesville, on Sunday, April 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Market Maven, 1630 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville, on Sunday, April 14, from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Seven Mile Market, 201 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville, on Sunday, April 14, from 12:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
- Measles cases in Maryland have been localized to a small geographic area within ZIP codes 21208, 21209 and 21215.
“While the outbreak is currently localized to a small area of the state, the best way to prevent measles in Maryland, or anywhere people might travel, is through vaccination,” said Frances B. Phillips, Maryland’s deputy secretary for public health, in a statement. “We continue to encourage all Marylanders to get vaccinated or check with their health care providers to ensure they and their families are up-to-date on vaccinations.”
The health department is notifying people directly who may have been exposed at additional locations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define an “outbreak” as three or more reported cases.
Measles, which is highly contagious and spreads quickly, has caused outbreaks in close-knit communities, including some haredi communities in New York. In a Nov. 2018 statement, the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America strongly urged “all parents to vaccinate their healthy children on the timetable recommended by their pediatrician.”
On April 9, New York City declared a public health emergency in certain ZIP codes in response to measles outbreaks in the Orthodox community in Williamsburg. Unvaccinated people are required to get the MMR vaccine, or may face a $1,000 fine.
In response to the second Pikesville case, the Baltimore County health department held a measles clinic for adults April 17, at Bais Yaakov School for Girls in Pikesville. According to Baltimore County spokeswoman Elyn Garrett-Jones, the health department has no plans at this time for another measles vaccination clinic, but she added, “That could change.”
“It is concerning that three cases of measles have been identified in Maryland in such a short period of time,” Phillips said last week. “The measles virus can spread very easily between unvaccinated people, and there have been large outbreaks in several other areas of the country. Vaccination is the best way to stop additional infections.”
Maryland case count information and a list of all of the public exposure locations can be found on the MDH site.
For people who might have been exposed to measles, the health department recommends:
- If you are healthy and know you have had two doses of MMR vaccine, you do not need to take additional actions;
- If your immune system is currently weakened by disease or medications, even if you have received two doses of MMR vaccine, call your doctor right away and explain you might have been exposed to measles, as you might need a medication called immune globulin;
- If you know you have NOT received two doses of MMR vaccine, or if you aren’t sure whether or not you have received two doses of MMR vaccine, call your doctor right away to determine next steps since you might need a dose of MMR vaccine or a medication called immune globulin;
- Monitor for possible symptoms of measles, such as fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and rash, and call your doctor before visiting the office so they can make special arrangements to evaluate you, if needed, without putting other patients and staff at risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to Maryland, states that have reported measles cases are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington. As of April 23, the CDC reported 626 cases nationwide, “the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.” (The high was 667 cases in 2014.)
Jurisdictions with outbreaks (defined as three or more cases) are New York State (Rockland County), New York City, Washington, New Jersey, California (Butte County) and Michigan.
“These outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring,” the CDC said. “Make sure you are vaccinated against measles before traveling internationally.”
According to the CDC: “Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles starts with fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.
“Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.
“The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.”