Advertisement

West Virginia Department of Health Monitoring for Transmission of Measles

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health (DH) is closely monitoring for transmission of measles following the state’s first documented case since 2009. After confirming the first positive case on Monday, state health leaders have learned of 152 additional people who were potentially exposed, 128 West Virginia residents from 30 counties and 24 out-of-state contacts from four neighboring states. Sixty-two of those exposed in West Virginia lack documentation of adequate protection against measles and are considered high risk. The Bureau for Public Health is strongly recommending those exposed individuals with no evidence of immunity against the virus to quarantine until May 9 or 10, 2024, depending on their last date of exposure. 

The Bureau for Public Health has been working closely with the Monongalia County Health Department to ensure they have adequate supplies for testing measles as well as ensuring availability of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine to Monongalia County. As state health leaders work with the Monongalia Health Department to conduct contact tracing and other control activities, Dr. Matthew Christiansen, State Health Officer, urges West Virginians with questions about their immunity to get tested. “Measles is a serious disease that can cause severe symptoms especially in the most vulnerable kids and adults who are immunocompromised. The MMR vaccine is the best line of defense against measles. If you are unsure about your vaccination history, you can either get vaccinated or a blood test can be ordered through your local healthcare provider to determine your level of immunity.”

The measles vaccine is typically given in two doses with the first recommended between 12 and 15 months of age. The second dose is recommended between four and six years and, in West Virginia, is required before entering Kindergarten. Unless they have other evidence of immunity, adults born after 1956 should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, and two appropriately spaced doses of MMR vaccines are recommended for healthcare personnel, college students and international travelers. The Bureau for Public Health recommends the safe and effective MMR vaccination as part of routine schedule for all children and adults. With summer travel coming up and people going to and coming from countries that have seen sharp upticks in measles cases, the time is now to be sure you and your family members are up-to-date on their MMR vaccine.

MMR vaccines are available through healthcare providers and local health departments across the state. To find a local health department near you, visit https://dhhr.wv.gov/localhealth/pages/map.aspx. To learn more about MMR vaccines, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mmr/public/index.html.