Confirmed measles case travels through Ky. airport

Confirmed measles case travels through Ky. airport

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) – Kentucky health officials reported the Ohio Health Department confirmed a case of the measles in a person from Ohio, but the person traveled through the Northern Kentucky International Airport while contagious.

Officials said they are working to contact people who may have been exposed on two specific dates: January 27 and January 29.

Kentucky River District Public Health Director Scott Lockard said the CDC is reporting there have been no confirmed measles cases in Kentucky in 2023 but said there is a key component to keeping folks safe.

“The risk for people developing the measles is very low if they have been vaccinated,” said Lockard. “The CDC states that the vaccination rate is 97% effective.”

Back in 2000, the CDC even reported the measles was eliminated due to the effectiveness of the widespread MMR vaccine.

“Measles, mumps, rubella, the MMR vaccine is a normal childhood vaccine that we have to prevent these childhood illnesses,” he said. “Typically, the first dose is received about 12 months and then the second dose about four years of age.”

He added, now, we typically only see cases of measles from someone who has traveled in another country where it is still prevalent and also in those who opt out of vaccinations.

“We have a lot of people now who are choosing not to get their vaccinations either for religious reasons or other reasons. When we have clusters of individuals who are unvaccinated that makes them susceptible to outbreaks of measles if they become exposed. Particularly in our young children,” he said.

Therefore, he said, with more people opting out of the vaccine, it does increase the risk of the spread. He added the measles has the ability to spread rapidly.

“One of the things about it is an individual who coughs, sneezes whatever,” he said. “The measles virus can actually remain in the air for up to two hours after that individual has left the room where they have expelled those droplets, and it becomes airborne.”

Lockard said some of the other common symptoms associated with measles include a fever, a rash and runny eyes and nose.

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