JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – State health officials said there was one case of measles in Duval County earlier this year, but told News4Jax on Thursday that person acquired the disease overseas and has fully recovered.
The Florida Department of Health said seven cases of measles have been reported in Florida in 2018, more than in all of 2017. Three of those are considered active.
Earlier this week, officials said two cases of measles were diagnosed in Pinellas County, where an unvaccinated child had previously come down with the illness. The state said Wednesday the two individuals live in the same household and also weren't immunized. The first individual lives in a separate household.
Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 107 people from 21 states have reportedly contracted the measles.
All patients in Florida had either never been vaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. Of 404 people identified who had potential exposure to measles, none developed the disease.
All States also have exemptions for people who have medical complications to vaccines. All states except California, West Virginia and Mississippi allow religious exemptions.
The CDC believes the measles virus is coming into the US from American travelers who have visited other countries. The CDC list those countries as England, France, Germany, India the Philippines and Vietnam.
The measles virus is often spread by travelers who are not vaccinated.
The CDC says a measles infection is dangerous for infants and young children. Traveler Paula Scruggs, who was flying into Jacksonville International Airport, says that information alone is troubling.
“If you’re traveling with small kids, it’s really something to know because the flight I was on -- there was plenty of children on there," Scruggs said.
Measles is a virus that is easily spread by air droplets when infected persons breathe, cough or sneeze. The Health Department said the virus lingers in the air, so anyone who enters a room within two hours of a person with confirmed measles should also be considered exposed.
The first symptoms are a high fever that may spike to 105 degrees, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Symptoms are followed by a blotchy rash.
Officials said the best way to avoid getting measles is to get vaccinated and urged parents to vaccinate their children. The CDC reports one out of a 1,000 children who gets measles will die from complications.