Growing measles outbreaks prompt health officials to encourage vaccination

SAUK COUNTY (WKOW) — As several states, including Illinois, Washington and New York, have ongoing measles outbreaks, health officials recommend people get vaccinated.

Sauk County, SSM Health and state health officials have been public this week in encouraging vaccinations.

Health officials say unvaccinated individuals 1 year and older should receive a measles vaccination to protect themselves and those around them, according to a news release from the Sauk County Health Department.

“Measles is an acute, highly contagious viral disease. A small number of cases are capable of quickly producing epidemics,” says Tara Hayes, health officer for Sauk County.

Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and rash. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age. Generally, preschool children, adolescents, young adults and inadequately immunized individuals comprise the majority of measles cases in the United States. There is no specific treatment for measles.

“The best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization,” Hayes said.

eChildren should receive their first dose of measles vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age; another dose at 4-6 years of age. Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine is generally first given at 12 months of age in the United States, but is sometimes recommended for children as young as 6 months of age who are traveling outside the United States or could be infected in an outbreak.

For more information on measles, visit https://www.co.sauk.wi.us/publichealth/measles or www.cdc.gov/measles. To obtain a measles vaccination, call your health care provider or Sauk County Health Department, (608) 355-3290.

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