Sweetwater County Public Health Raises Awareness of Measles Cases in U.S.

Sweetwater County Public Health Raises Awareness of Measles Cases in U.S.

ROCK SPRINGS — Sweetwater County Public Health are raising awareness of increasing numbers of measles cases being reported throughout the U.S.

According to the organization, 64 cases of measles across 17 states have been reported in 2024, while there were only 58 cases reported throughout the entirety of 2023. Measles is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing.

About 90% of people who aren’t protected from the disease will become infected after exposure. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air after an infected person leaves an area. Also, it can spread from four days before symptoms show to four days after the rash appears.

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Symptoms typically begin between eight and 12 days after exposure, though symptoms have been known to not appear until up to 21 days after exposure. The illness starts with a mild or moderate fever, a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. A few days later, the fever spikes to as high as 104-105 degrees Fahrenheit and a red, blotchy rash forms. The rash usually starts on the face, along the hairline and behind the ears. Tiny white spots known as Koplik spots may also appear inside the mouth. The rash quickly spreads down the chest and back, then to the legs and feet.

Most children who are infected with illness are often sick enough to miss school for at least a week.

At one point, measles was considered eliminated from the U.S., and the last measles case in Wyoming was reported in 2010. The declaration of measles being eliminated was made in 2000 following a successful measles vaccination program. Measles cases today can often be traced to international travelers, but once it arrives, it can quickly spread. Sweetwater County Public Health encourages parents to ensure their children are current on the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.