Shelby County prepares for potential measles cases amid nationwide outbreak

Shelby County prepares for potential measles cases amid nationwide outbreak
The measles outbreak in the U.S. has reached another disturbing benchmark with more than 700 cases so far in 2019, the most in the last quarter of a century. (Source: Scott Pace)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County officials are making preparations in case the nationwide measles outbreak makes it to Shelby County.

There have been no outbreak in the Mid-South, but there’s a plan in place in case it spreads further.

Tennessee health officials confirmed five measles cases in the state. All five cases are in east Tennessee and connected to a resident who traveled to a country with a known outbreak.

“The public is rightly concerned given the recent pick-up in reports of new measles cases. We want to address those concerns as best we can and provide information as we know it right now,” said Mayor Lee Harris. “Most importantly, this is the right time to inform the public regarding the resources Shelby County provides, including vaccine services and free vaccines for those who qualify.”

If measles is confirmed in Shelby County, public health staff can quarantine and isolate the infectious person to stop the spread of the illness. From there, they’d investigate anyone who came in contact with the infected person. If vaccinated within 72 hours, that person will be protected from the virus.

Health officials recommend everyone be vaccinated. Vaccines are available at all Shelby County Health Department Clinics for free to children under 18 who are uninsured, TennCare eligible, underinsured, or are American Indian or Alaska natives.

In 2018, Shelby County Health Department administered 28,875 vaccinations.

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