Vermont health officials take action after measles outbreak

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BURLINGTON, VT. – Patsy Kelso is the state epidemiologist for the Vermont Health Department and believes measles is one of the most contagious infectious diseases. 

“It can be spread through moist droplets from people who are contagious or even through the air when someone coughs, sneezes, or even just talks, “said Kelso.

Health officials also say that in contained spaces and hallways measles can linger in the air for hours.

“Little particles can stay in the air after the person with measles has left the room,” said Kelso

According to the CDC the two dose measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is 97% effective. However, some people are more vulnerable to the disease.

Jill Mitchell lives in Burlington and is concerned about her two month old daughter who is too young to receive the vaccination

 Mitchell said, “I think having her being the vulnerable party is what makes it worrisome for me.”

Jill is nervous because Burlington is a popular place that a lot of people come to visit.

“The truth is that Burlington is a popular tourist destination for people in these surrounding areas, “said Mitchell.” I think that worrying about an unvaccinated child is valid”

Kelso says getting vaccinated is the only protection.

“In order to protect those people we need to 95% or so of everyone around them to be immunized, “said Kelso.

According to Kelso someone with measles is contagious for up to nine days. Four days before they see a rash and four days after they see a rash.

“We identify where those people were and try and identify all the people they may have had contact with throughout those nine days,” said Kelso.

As of right now there are no reported cases in Vermont, but Kelso wants people in Vermont to be aware.

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