Measles hits country hard, but county avoids problem

May 10, 2019 GMT

The country has been hit with the greatest number of measles cases since 1994, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the state Department of Health indicates that Somerset County has yet to see someone diagnosed with it this year.

There have been no measles cases in the last five years in Somerset County, according to Nate Wardle, department spokesman. But five have appeared throughout the commonwealth this year. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine discussed the importance of early prevention.

“It is essential that all Pennsylvanians from infants to older adults are up-to-date on all recommended immunizations, such as measles, mumps, polio and whooping cough” Levine said in a news release. “Vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect yourself from serious, life-threatening diseases. Getting your vaccinations can help protect those around you, including those with compromised immune systems who cannot get vaccinated.”

From Jan. 1 to May 3, 764 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states, according to the CDC. Though it hasn’t hit Somerset and Cambria counties, according to officials with Conemaugh Health System, that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be on guard. Dr. Venkata Dharbhamulla, the pediatric medical director at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, explained the symptoms, which generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected.

Measles typically begins with high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat, red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet.