State officials say Connecticut's high vaccination rate makes a widespread measles outbreak unlikely.
State officials say Connecticut’s high vaccination rate makes a widespread measles outbreak unlikely.
State officials say Connecticut’s high vaccination rate makes a widespread measles outbreak unlikely.

Health officials have confirmed a third case of the measles in Connecticut this year.

An adult from New Haven County was exposed to the disease last month during a visit to Brooklyn, N.Y., the state Department of Public Health said Friday. It is not linked to the two previously verified cases that were reported in January.

The person has been isolated, health officials said. Measles cases are considered infectious from four days before the onset of a rash to four days after. In the latest case, the rash onset occurred on Thursday.

“We are monitoring and investigating this case very closely, including working with our local health departments to follow up with any individuals that may have been exposed to measles,” State Health Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell said. “Science tells us that the single best thing anyone can do to protect themselves from this highly contagious virus is to get vaccinated.”

Connecticut reported three cases of measles to the CDC in 2018.

The state’s vaccination rate has traditionally been high. In the 2017-18 school year, the most recent data available, more than 96 percent of the state’s kindergarteners were vaccinated against polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, Hepatitis A and B and varicella. Between 95 percent and 98.5 percent of seventh graders were immunized against those conditions and meningococcal disease.

Most of the recent measles outbreaks in the United States were the result of a traveler bringing the disease home with them from overseas. The virus then spread through the unvaccinated people in the travelers’ communities.

Officials in Rockland County, New York, declared a state of emergency last month in connection with a measles outbreak. As of Thursday, the county reported 180 confirmed cases of the disease.

The outbreak has been largely concentrated in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Rockland, where vaccination rates tend to be lower and anti-vaccination literature has circulated, officials have said.

The resurgence of measles in the United States is spurring a backlash against vaccine critics, from congressional hearings investigating the spread of vaccine misinformation to state measures that would make it harder for parents to opt out of immunizing their children.

Coleman-Mitchell said that due to Connecticut’s high vaccination rate, the state is “at low risk” for a widespread measles outbreak.

Jenna is CT Mirror’s Health Reporter, focusing on health access, affordability, quality, equity and disparities, social determinants of health, health system planning, infrastructure, processes, information systems, and other health policy. Before joining CT Mirror Jenna was a reporter at The Hartford Courant for 10 years, where she consistently won statewide and regional awards. Jenna has a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University and a Bachelor or Arts degree in Journalism from Grand Valley State University.

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  1. I realize I am older than I feel (most of the time) but when I was a kid most every kid got the measles during the school year. Once you got it you could not get it again. Kids tried to contract the measles so they would get the immunity. They also got to stay out of school for a while. Can’t beat that! Same went with chicken pox. Everybody got it in elementary school and we tried to get it for the same reasons. You were immune after the first time and you got to miss some school. I had the chicken pox for sure. I still remember it. The pox itched and you were not supposed to scratch or you would be very sorry when you made it worse. Measles was a rash and there were two kinds of measles. The one that was worse was the one you had to get. Then there was the German Measles. That was not as bad but people got it once too. That is the story, folks. It was not some horrible deal. It was actually a part of growing up. I don’t recall what grade I was in when I got the measles and chicken pox. Just thought of another one we all got, mumps. Oh yes. When the vaccine came out I had already had them all and I never got the vaccine. God took care of it for me. The vaccine was called the MMR, measles, mumps and rubella. I guess nothing for chicken pox. Now you have to get the shingles vaccine for when the chicken pox tries to come back and really get you a second time. I got that shot. I think you only need that shot once. So that’s my story. I am sure others who read this stuff who are around my age will remember what I am talking about. It was all about us growing up when we were kids. Nothing wrong with that. I don’t recall anything really bad about all this stuff. I do remember polio. Now that was bad. Came during the summer. We stood in line to get the Salk vaccine and then the Sabin sugar cube vaccine. Got them both. So did my whole family. I was fairly young when the vaccines came out. No more polio. Those two doctors did a great service for the entire world. I will never forget their names. Drs. Salk and Sabin. Today, you don’t hear about particular doctors inventing things like that. I wish we did so we could all thank them. That is what being a good student can do for everyone. Please kids out there who might read this, get your name in lights like those docs did. I want to do nothing more than congratulate you. Find a cure for cancer or maybe a vaccine. Do it. I know you can! Don’t worry about all the businesses you will ruin. Find the cure. Do it for all of us. Do it for the world!

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