Fairfield County child has 4th case of measles in CT

A school-aged child from Fairfield County is the state’s fourth case of measles this year.

A public health investigation of this case has determined that the child was not infectious while at school. Information received by the state Department of Public Health indicates that the child contracted measles in early October.

The latest case of measles is not related to three previously confirmed cases in Connecticut reported in January and April.

"We are monitoring and investigating this case very closely, including working with our local health departments and medical providers to follow up with any individuals that may have been exposed to measles," DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell said in a release.

"Science tells us that the single best thing anyone can do to protect themselves from this highly contagious virus is to get vaccinated. Overall, Connecticut has high vaccination rates, so we are at low risk for a widespread measles outbreak. This latest confirmed case, coupled with declining statewide immunization numbers for measles, is exactly why Governor Ned Lamont and I are recommending repeal of non-medical exemptions for vaccination."

Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell continued, "If you have a fever and a rash and you think you might have measles, you should avoid public settings and call your healthcare provider before going directly to a healthcare facility so steps can be taken to avoid possibly exposing others."

See related story about Wilton’s immunization rates

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) released the following statement in response to the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s confirmation of a fourth case of measles in 2019.

“News of the fourth outbreak this year is very troubling. My thoughts are with the child and the family from Fairfield County, right in our own backyard, during this difficult time. The health of our residents is at stake from a completely preventable disease. It is imperative we remove non-medical exemptions to increase vaccination rates statewide."

Dawn Jolly, a co-founder of CT Freedom Alliance, a group supportive of vaccine exemptions, questioned why the public health department wouldn’t release more information about the child, including whether the person had been immunized against measles.

“For Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell to publicly state that this is proof that we need to repeal the religious exemption in Connecticut is irresponsible and a dereliction of her duties,” Jolly said. “At this point we don’t know where the virus was contracted, whether the child was vaccinated for the measles, whether it was a wild strain or a vaccine strain, or even whether the child attends school in the state.”

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is working with local health departments and healthcare providers to identify and inform identified contacts of the case.

The average incubation period of measles (from contact with a case until onset of rash) is 14 days, with a range of 7-21 days.

Cases are considered infectious from four days before rash onset through four days after. It is possible that secondary cases of measles among some of these contacts may occur, especially among those who have never been vaccinated for measles.

A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and sore throat.

Three to five days after the start of these symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears, usually starting on a person’s face at the hairline and spreading downward to the entire body.

At the time the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The rash typically lasts at least a few days and then disappears in the same order. People with measles may be contagious up to 4 days before the rash appears and for four days after the day the rash appears.

From Jan, 1 to Oct. 1, 2019, 1,249 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 31 states. This is the largest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.

For more information about measles, please visit www.cdc.gov/measles.

Additional reporting from the CT Mirror was used in this story.