1-year-old child from Sierra County contracts measles, health officials say
LAS CRUCES - The New Mexico Department of Health announced Friday, May 17 it has confirmed a case of measles in a 1-year-old child from Sierra County.
This is the first measles case in New Mexico since December 2014, according to the state health department.
Measles is highly contagious viral infection and is easily transmitted person-to-person via droplets or through the air. It can be fatal for small children.
Sierra County, home to Truth or Consequences, is just north of Doña Ana County.
What are the symptoms?
Early symptoms of measles include: fever, red eyes, runny nose, and cough. Within a few days following the cough and runny nose, a rash will typically begin on the face and spread down the body. Measles is diagnosed by a combination of symptoms and laboratory testing.
The New Mexico Department of Health emphasized it maintains a 24/7 call system that ensures an epidemiologist is always available to discuss possible measles cases and control measures. In light of ongoing measles outbreaks in other states, NMDOH epidemiologists have been vigilant in monitoring, investigating and ruling out suspected measles cases in recent months.
The NMDOH is working with PED to improve vaccine record-keeping in schools, according to a state news release. And as measles outbreaks have occurred throughout the country this year, the NMDOH has been communicating with health care providers regarding diagnosing and responding to possible measles cases and with the public about the importance of measles vaccination.
The CDC recently completed additional lab testing on this case, which has been under investigation for over a week.
"We have worked with the clinic that treated the child and the patient’s family to identify people who may have been exposed so we can prevent more cases of the disease,” said Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel in a news release. "We encourage everyone to check whether you and your family have been vaccinated to protect against measles. Immunization is the best tool we have to protect people from measles."
Illness is preventable
Adults needing measles vaccine can contact their medical provider or local pharmacy. The illness is preventable with via vaccinations.
Vaccines are available without charge to the family for any child in New Mexico, regardless of insurance status, under the Vaccines for Children program. Children who have no insurance coverage can get the vaccine from their health care provider or at their local public health office.
Public health office contact information can be found in the blue pages of the phonebook or online at www.nmhealth.org.
Medical providers should report suspect cases of measles to the Department of Health’s Epidemiology and Response Division at 505-827-0006.