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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Tennessee man infected with measles exposes virus to Mississippians

A warning from the Mississippi Health Department: a number of people have been exposed to measles, and it's a perfect example of how this potentially deadly...

JACKSON, Miss. (localmemphis.com) — A warning from the Mississippi Health Department: a number of people have been exposed to measles, and it’s a perfect example of how this potentially deadly disease spreads.

Health investigators say an East Tennessee man, who tested positive for the highly contagious disease, traveled to Hattiesburg last week while he was contagious.

Local 24 News did some digging and health officials are not releasing much about this man, but say he was not vaccinated, and he interacted with many Mississippians during his travels.

Local health officials are pushing for more people to get vaccinated at places like the Shelby County Health Department clinics where immunizations are done.

“There was a contagious case of measles from Tennessee that traveled through the state between April 9th and April 11th,” said State Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “Unvaccinated people would be at risk, so people who are not vaccinated yet, like young children and that’s actually our biggest concerns.” 

Health officials say the East Tennessee man went to Hattiesburg last week, while he was contagious, and may have exposed people at the Subway inside the Circle K on Highway 11 and the Raising Canes Restaurant on Hardy Street.

“It starts with a pro-drone or a period before the rash of a couple of days, sometimes high fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis or red eye linings,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, an Infectious Disease Physician.

A rash then follows. Symptoms usually appear 11 days after exposure, and it is highly contagious. Doctors encourage people to get vaccinated.

“If you do become ill, please contact your physician and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles because it’s so contagious we don’t want people walking into an emergency room or walking into a crowded clinic and then spread the disease unknowingly.”

Measles spread when a person infection the measles virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The virus is very contagious with the virus lingering in a room where a person with measles has been for up to two hours.