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Health department confirms measles in unimmunized Jacksonville child

Parents are urged to ensure children are up-to-date on vaccinations

Parents are urged to ensure children are up-to-date on vaccinations.
Parents are urged to ensure children are up-to-date on vaccinations.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health confirmed last week that an unimmunized child in Jacksonville has contracted measles.

The child was treated at Wolfson‌ Children's Hospital, News4Jax confirmed Thursday with the hospital.

"The safety of our patients, families and team members at Wolfson Children's Hospital are top priority," the hospital wrote in an emailed statement. "A child was brought to Wolfson Children's ER and was confirmed positive for measles by the Florida Department of Health."

There is low risk to others who were in the ER at the same time as the child, the hospital said in a statement.

The Department of Health said it has sent a letter notifying all facilities the case(s) visited while infected and is encouraging facilities to also notify others who may have had contact with the child during that time.

VIDEO: Measles case confirmed in Duval County

The Jacksonville medical community has also been informed to be watchful of any rash-like illnesses in patients, according to the health department.

According to Dr. Pauline Rolle, medical director of the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, the concern about the case is the fact it's the first in a long time.

"This might be a signal there could be other cases to come. The thing about measles is, for a while, we thought it was eradicated. We have not seen any cases. And now we have one in Duval and we've seen outbreaks across the country," Rolle said. 

The Department of Health in Duval County encourages parents to get their children immunized against measles with the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Children should receive two doses, with the first at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second at 4 to 6 years of age.

The symptoms of measles generally begin approximately seven to 14 days after a person is exposed to someone with measles, and include:

  • Blotchy rash
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • 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)

Measles spreads through the air by infectious droplets and is highly contagious. It can be transmitted four days before the rash is visible to four days after the rash is visible.

Individuals who have received their routine measles vaccination, including most children, or those who had measles in the past, will have immunity to this disease.

The Department of Health in Duval County provides measles and other routine vaccinations at the following sites:

South Jacksonville Immunization Center
3225 University Boulevard South Jacksonville, FL 32216

The Immunization Center
5322 North Pearl Street Jacksonville, FL 32208

There have been three cases of measles this year in Florida, according to the state Department of Health. There have been seven cases in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

For more information about measles and vaccination information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.