SARASOTA, Fla. — Four cases of the measles have been reported in unvaccinated children in Sarasota.
The children all had close contact to each other. The Department of Health in Sarasota says the infections were acquired locally and the source has not been identified.
DOH-Sarasota is working with community health care partners to identify and notify persons who were potentially exposed to measles.
The department encourages all residents and visitors who have not been immunized to get vaccinated, as ensuring high vaccine coverage in the community bolsters immunity and protects those who can't receive a vaccine due to preexisting medical conditions.
Measles is a virus that is easily spread by air droplets when infected persons breathe, cough, or sneeze. The first symptoms are a high fever that may spike to 105°F, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. These symptoms are followed by a blotchy rash that spreads from the head to the feet. Measles is a potentially severe disease, especially in young children and persons with compromised immune systems. Complications can include pneumonia, encephalitis and death.
"We will continue to investigate, but we would like families to know that their children could be exposed to diseases like measles anywhere and-unless they're protected with vaccination-they are risking potentially serious health effects for their child," said DOH-Sarasota Health Officer Chuck Henry. "We encourage all parents to fully vaccinate their children to protect them from diseases like measles."