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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: January 30, 2012


Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) confirmed a case of measles in a 6-year-old girl from Clayton. The case was clinically diagnosed by the child's physician on Jan. 13 and confirmed by Lab Corp on Jan. 23. The child was not hospitalized and did not suffer any complications due to the illness. DPH notified the child's school, Caravel Academy, of her illness. The child had been previously vaccinated for measles and had not traveled recently. No other cases have been identified as a result of exposure to this case at this time. Caravel Academy has notified appropriate staff and parents and has been following DPH's recommendations.

In an era of measles elimination, measles is very rare in the United States. DPH has only confirmed five cases since 1995. However, measles is a common disease in many other countries and can result in infection during international travel. Measles, also called rubeola, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and generalized rash. Complications of measles include pneumonia, encephalitis, ear infection, diarrhea and, in severe cases, death. The best prevention against measles is immunization with the combination vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. While measles vaccine is highly effective, no vaccine provides 100 percent immunity. All children and adolescents should receive two doses, given at least four weeks apart. Most children are vaccinated at 12-15 months and receive the second dose at 4-6 years of age.

Measles can be difficult to diagnose largely due to the sporadic nature of the disease and the widespread occurrence of other rash-causing illnesses. Due to the public health significance of the disease, it is very important that any suspect case of measles be confirmed using laboratory-based methods instead of relying solely on a clinical diagnosis.

For more information, see or call DPH's Bureau of Epidemiology at 1-888-295-5156.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.