Measles in North Dakota after 24 years

Today, Cass County, North Dakota confirmed its very first case of measles since 1987. The Cass County health department says the case is a 50-year-old man who was not previously vaccinated for measles.  This man appeared to have caught the virus while traveling on an airplane and was not actually in North Dakota while it was contagious so more cases are not anticipated in the state. Measles, also known as rubeola, is a highly communicable respiratory infection caused by a paramyxovirus. The incubation period for measles is anywhere from six to nineteen days, infectivity from two to four days, and then come symptoms such as runny nose, cough, fever and a rash. Measles can be a very serious infection and even lead to death. Since this case confirmation, health officials are encouraging North Dakota residents to become vaccinated. Currently, the state’s MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination rate is nearly 94%. This is slightly higher than the national vaccination rate average of 90%. However, people born before 1957 were not routinely vaccinated so they may be more at risk for contracting these diseases.

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