For Immediate Release: June 13, 2007
Media Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is asking health care providers and the public to be aware of an outbreak of measles occuring in the Montreal area.
Since April 19, there have been 14 confirmed cases of measles in the Montreal metropolitan area. Although the risk of contracting measles while traveling to Montreal remains low, due to the frequency of travel into Canada health care providers in Vermont are being asked to consider the possibility of measles in any patient ill with fever and rash.
There have been no cases of measles in Vermont.
Measles is a highly contagious disease. Fever and cold-like symptoms are followed by a rash that begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Serious complications can occur, and for every 1,000 cases of measles, one to two people will die.
“Anyone born before 1957 is likely to have had measles and therefore is immune,” said Dr. Cort Lohff, state epidemiologist for the Vermont Department of Health. “Anyone born after 1957 who is known to have measles, or was vaccinated against measles, is immune as well. This is a good opportunity to remind people that measles still occurs and that a vaccine is available to prevent this disease.”
All students attending school in Vermont are required to have two doses of a measles-containing vaccine before enrolling in school.
Before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, there were approximately 450,000 measles cases and an average of 450 measles-associated deaths reported each year in the United States. Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99 percent reduction in measles cases in the U.S. compared with the pre-vaccine era.
Anyone with questions about this are asked to call the Vermont Department of Health at 802-863-7240 or 1-800-640-4374 (in Vermont).
More information about measles can be found on the Health Department website at http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/measles/Measles.aspx