Recent Indiana measles case is of low threat to St. Joseph County residents

NOW: Recent Indiana measles case is of low threat to St. Joseph County residents

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- A disease that's been in the books since the ninth century is making another comeback to the Hoosier state.

With Indiana and Michigan's state health departments confirming their first cases of measles since the last countrywide outbreak in 2019, the St. Joseph County Department of Health is already making sure folks are vigilant against the deadly disease.

"Something we used to not see any cases of, is potentially making a comeback," says Robin Vida, Director of Health Outreach, Promotion, and Education at the St. Joseph County Department of Health.

A case of measles was confirmed in Indiana's northwest, in Lake County, and is the first case found in Indiana since 2019. 

The common and accessible MMR vaccine that most people get as children will prevent catching measles, but for those that don't have it, the risk runs much higher. 

"Where we're most concerned are with kids and/or adults who have not yet been vaccinated against measles," Vida explains.

According to the CDC, 90% of unvaccinated people that are exposed to measles will get sick. 

However, is it something folks in St. Joseph County have to worry about? Local health experts say, not so much. 

"That risk is extremely low to us," Vida says.

The single case detected in Northwest Indiana was found in an unvaccinated individual. 

With the vast majority of people being vaccinated against measles, the St. Joseph County Health Department believes measles is not something folks have to panic about like with the Covid pandemic, and that we can take what we learned from Covid to prevent the spread. 

"Learning about quarantine, isolation type things, if you've been exposed, stay away from folks to make sure you're not going to present symptoms and potentially spread it," says Vida.

If you're unsure about whether you were vaccinated for measles as child, the health department says it's 100% safe to get vaccinated again. 

The county health department is offering the MMR vaccine for county residents, you can visit their website for more information. 

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