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Recent measles and whooping cough cases emphasize need for vaccinations | Health

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Recent measles and whooping cough cases emphasize need for vaccinations
Health, News
Recent measles and whooping cough cases emphasize need for vaccinations

Polk County, FL -- August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and recent vaccine-preventable diseases discovered in Polk County are an unfortunate reminder that vaccines are important.

Last month, measles was diagnosed in a young adult visiting Polk County who had just returned from a trip oversees.  One of the countries visited was experiencing clusters of measles.  The person was hospitalized and has since recovered. They had not received the recommended vaccinations against measles as children or before traveling.

Symptoms of measles generally begin about 7-14 days after a person is infected, and include (in order of appearance):

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Feeling run down, achy
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth
  • Blotchy rash beginning several days after the onset of fever

It is important to note that complications of measles can include pneumonia, diarrhea, eye ulcers causing blindness, and rare brain swelling.

In addition to measles, whooping cough (pertussis) is again present in Polk County. Twenty-two confirmed cases have been reported this year, up from the 13 total cases in 2010. 

Whooping cough is a highly infectious disease spread easily from person to person through the air.  Young children, particularly those who have not been vaccinated, are the most vulnerable.

Parents and caregivers should be aware that they can transmit this disease to their children unknowingly, as whooping cough is less serious in adults and may not cause them concern. Any adult who has close contact with children should be vaccinated. 

For more information on measles, pertussis, and other vaccine-preventable illnesses, please contact the Polk County Health Department or your family physician. Links to valuable information can be found at www.mypolkchd.org, www.cdc.gov, and www.immunizepolk.org.

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