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South Dakota Reports Measles Case

NOTE: The Department of Health will hold daily media briefings to provide updates, beginning Tuesday, December 30 at 2 p.m.; call 866-410-8397, conference code 7872942311. The department will also be posting updates at http://doh.sd.gov/diseases/measles.aspx


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, December 30, 2014
CONTACT:  Lon Kightlinger, (605) 773-3737 


South Dakota Reports Measles Case


PIERRE, S.D. – An unvaccinated child is South Dakota’s first case of measles since 1997, a state health official announced today. The child is a Davison County resident under the age of 5.  


“South Dakota has good immunization coverage rates but measles is on the rise nationally which means unvaccinated individuals are at risk for exposure when they travel to areas with cases,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “Up to date immunizations are the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the measles. We strongly encourage South Dakotans to check their immunization records and make sure they’re up to date.”


Kightlinger said the department is working to identify those who may have been exposed to the case.


Measles is a highly contagious viral disease transmitted from one person to another by direct contact or airborne by droplet spread. It is a serious illness that causes permanent brain damage in one in every 1,000 patients and is fatal in three out of every 1,000 patients.


Historically measles was typically considered a childhood disease it can be contracted at any age. The majority of measles cases in the United States are unvaccinated preschoolers, adolescents and young adults. 


The best protection against the disease is the measles vaccine (MMR). For full protection, two doses of the vaccine are recommended, the first at 12 months of age and a second dose by age four. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are required for students entering schools in South Dakota. MMR vaccination is also required for children entering child care. 


Parents who need vaccine for their children can contact their usual health care provider or check the list of childhood vaccine providers on the department’s website, http://doh.sd.gov/local-offices/.


More information about measles is available on the department’s website at http://doh.sd.gov/diseases/infectious/diseasefacts/Measles.aspx.



Improving immunization rates is a key objective of the department’s Health 2020 Initiative.