Published: April 19, 2019


THE TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH IS INVESTIGATING A CASE OF MEASLES AFTER THE STATE PUBLIC HEALTH LABORATORY CONFIRMED A POSITIVE TEST FOR THE ILLNESS IN A RESIDENT OF THE EAST TENNESSEE. WHILE THE INVESTIGATION IS CURRENTLY CENTERED IN EAST TENNESSEE, ALL TENNESSEANS SHOULD BE AWARE OF MEASLES AND ITS SYMPTOMS. THESE SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE FEVER, RUNNY NOSE, BODY ACHES, WATERY EYES AND WHITE SPOTS IN THE MOUTH. THE ILLNESS IS TYPICALLY ACCOMPANIED BY A RED, SPOTTY RASH THAT BEGINS ON THE FACE AND SPREADS OVER THE BODY. ACCORDING TO A PRESS RELEASE, THE MEASLES VIRUS IS HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS AND CAN STAY AIRBORNE OR LIVE ON SURFACES FOR UP TO TWO HOURS. PEOPLE RECENTLY INFECTED WITH MEASLES MAY NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS, BUT CAN TRANSMIT THE VIRUS FOR ABOUT FIVE DAYS BEFORE THE TYPICAL MEASLES RASH APPEARS. ALL TENNESSEANS ARE URGED TO ENSURE THEY ARE UP-TO DATE ON M-M-R VACCINE. PEOPLE WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT TO DO TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST MEASLES SHOULD CALL A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER, THE LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT OR A HOTLINE ESTABLISHED TO PROVIDE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC ABOUT MEASLES. THE HOTLINE NUMBER IS 865-549-5343; CALLS TO THE HOTLINE WILL BE ANSWERED FROM 7 A.M. – 3:30 P.M. CENTRAL TIME/8 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. EASTERN TIME DAILY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. TENNESSEE HAS HAD ONLY 15 CASES OF MEASLES IN THE LAST DECADE DUE TO RELATIVELY HIGH VACCINATION RATES.