Two cases of the measles were confirmed in New Haven County on Tuesday, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH).
The patients are both under the age of 12 months and reside in the same household, according to WFSB. They acquired the infection from outside the United States when traveling internationally between April 11 and 17.
The DPH told WFSB it is collaborating with local partners to identify contacts and implement control members. It has notified doctors across the state and is asking them to look out for potential cases over the next few weeks.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can spread quickly among unvaccinated people, according to WFSB. Its symptoms are a rash, high fever, conjunctivitis, pink eye and a cough, along with a red or reddish-brown rash that appears first on the face at the hairline and spreads downward to the entire body.
David Banach, head of infection prevention at UConn Health, said the disease is very uncommon in Connecticut.
“Cases in the U.S. most often arise among individuals who are traveling to areas of the world where measles is more common or after exposure to a recent traveler to one of these areas who became infected,” Banach said. “Domestic transmission in the U.S. can occur, particularly among groups of children who are not vaccinated.”
Banach said measles is a self-limited disease and most infected children recover completely without any adverse consequences.
“Some groups of children, particularly very young children and those with weakened immune systems, are at higher risk for complications, which can be serious,” Banach said.
Banach said though most children in Connecticut have a measles vaccination, the infection is highly contagious among those who don’t.
“If a large proportion of the population is vaccinated there is a ‘herd immunity,’ which can protect the public from a single case becoming an outbreak,” Banach said.
Banach said the DPH has been in communication with healthcare providers regarding the recent cases.
“(The DPH) continues to work closely with clinicians to provide guidance on evaluating patients with possible measles and implementing the appropriate infection control measures needed to reduce spread,” Banach said.
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.