2 measles cases in Michigan; what you need to know

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In the first four months of 2017, two measles cases have been reported in Michigan. Health officials are warning residents of the dangers about exposure and urge anyone who hasn't been vaccinated, to do so immediately.

Measles is a highly infectious respiratory illness that is spread through coughing and sneezing by a contagious person. Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes that usually start seven to 14 days after exposure and last for three to five days before the rash appears. The rash, starts on the face and progresses down the trunk, arms and legs, and lasts four to seven days. Measles can be serious, leading to pneumonia, or inflammation of the brain.

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According to Dr. Steve McGraw, the Emergency Physician at Providence Hospital, if you got the vaccine as a child, you should be safe.

"The vaccine is very effective so if you were vaccinated as a child, that immunity is pretty much through life," he said. "If you are unvaccinated, it can be contagious if you're exposed to someone who is actively ill."

Wayne County Department of Health officials say having two doses of Measles, Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine is protective. The first dose of the vaccine is given to infants after their first birthday.  A booster dose is given to children four to six years of age. Adults born before 1957 are considered immune by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

McGraw says the measles is a very serious disease, even though it doesn't affect most people in the United States.

"Not a benign disease. Worldwide, thousands of people have died from it. We're somewhat unfamiliar with it in the United States because our vaccination program has historically been so good that people don't even get the disease anymore," he said.

McGraw also said that it's not too late to get the vaccine; you just have to ask your doctor. For more information on measles, go to the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/