The Florida Department of Health has confirmed measles in an adult international traveler who attended a conference in Kissimmee, Florida, at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center March 16-17, 2015. The traveler spent time in several central and south Florida counties. Most of the traveler’s time was spent in Osceola County; however, the traveler also spent time in Miami-Dade, Orange and Sarasota during the infectious period of March 14-20, 2015. The traveler did not visit any theme parks during his visit. The traveler was hospitalized between March 20-24 in Miami and after recovery left Florida by plane on March 25.
The department continues to work closely with health care professionals and organizations in an effort to maintain its current level of readiness to identify cases and respond to any diagnosed cases of measles in Florida. The department is also working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the organizer of the international conference to notify all conference attendees as well as all other establishments the traveler visited while infectious to identify potentially exposed individuals. In addition, Florida Department of Health monitors emergency room and urgent care center visits in order to rapidly identify and respond to any possible cases of measles in the state.
The Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) shot is the best way to protect against measles. Those who are fully immunized have very little risk of developing measles. Ideally, children should receive two doses, the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at four to six years of age. Children and adults who have not ever received MMR vaccine in the past should also get vaccinated. Information regarding adult vaccines and vaccines for children is available through doctor’s offices or local health department clinics.
The symptoms of measles generally begin approximately seven to 14 days after a person is exposed to someone with measles, and include:
- Blotchy rash
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Feeling run down, achy (malaise)
- Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)
People who develop these symptoms should contact their doctor. Measles is spread through the air by infectious droplets and is highly contagious. It can be transmitted from four days before the rash becomes visible to four days after the rash appears.
Residents who have questions about measles or how to get vaccinated are encouraged to call their local county health department. A complete listing of county health departments is available at www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/county-health-departments/find-a-county-health-department/index.html.