During 2019 there have been five (5) measles cases identified in Maryland all located within a small geographic area within zip codes 21208, 21209 and 21215. There is no evidence of ongoing transmission of measles within the state of Maryland at this time.
If you are traveling in areas outside of Maryland with measles outbreaks or contact with visitors from areas where there have been outbreaks the following facts are important to remember:
- Measles is an acute viral respiratory illness characterized by early symptoms of fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis which last for 2-4 days. These early symptoms are followed by a rash that appears about 14 days after exposure and spreads progressively from the hairline to the face, then general body followed by arms and legs.
If you develop these type of symptoms, you need to see your private physician and or go to the emergency room immediately. Maryland Department of Health continues to recommend that all measles testing be performed at the Maryland Department of Health Laboratories Administration.
The decision to test for measles will be made by your treating physician. The clinical presentation, exposure history and vaccination status all play an important role in the decision to test for measles.
- However, testing for measles should occur in any patient who presents with clinical symptoms highly consistent with measles regardless of exposure history.
- Testing for measles should occur with known possible exposure or exposure to measles even if the patients symptoms are atypical. Vaccinated patients are more likely to have atypical clinical presentations with milder illness.
- Testing for measles should not occur in a patient with no known possible exposure to measles and whose clinical presentation is atypical for measles i.e. no fever, no rash, no respiratory symptoms.
- Testing for measles should not occur in a patient for whom an alternative diagnosis is more likely i.e. allergic reaction to a medication, allergic reaction to an environmental agent; chicken pox, etc.
These are general recommendations only. All patients who believe that they have been exposure or have symptoms that are typical or atypical should present to the emergency department or primary care physician for examination. Do not delay. If any suspicion exists or concern you should present for examination. It is important for all members of our community to be alert to the signs and symptoms of measles and to alert officials, emergency department staff and primary care physician as to concerns that you may observe.
Thank you for your effort to identify measles cases and to prevent additional infections in Maryland. We ask that you continue to remain vigil. We will update you if there are any changes in the Maryland Department Health recommendations regarding measles or if new cases are identified.
Terrance L. Baker, MD, MS
Medical Director Sollay Medical Center