NEW BRITAIN -- In 2018, Connecticut only had three cases of confirmed measles, but this year, there has already been two measles cases confirmed in just a matter of weeks.
Connecticut has a high vaccination rate compared to other areas of the country where residents are allowed to forego vaccination, according to Chief of Infectious Diseases at The Hospital of Central Connecticut Dr. Virginia Bieluch
“Measles is spread by the respiratory route, that is, if the patient coughs or sneezes, there’s a very good chance you’ll develop measles,” Dr. Bieluch said.
The highly contagious infection can first appear as what some may think is a normal cold, but the similar symptoms can mean very different things.
“It's not until you have the rash that it's obvious you have measles,” Dr. Bieluch said.
According to Dr. Bieluch, a reddish-brown rash will appear starting on the face after a few days of experiencing flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, fever and cough.
The best way to avoid contracting measles is through vaccination.
“Connecticut fortunately has a very good vaccine rate for kids entering schools,” Dr. Bieluch said. “If a patient has measles, it is usually not spread to many other people.”
Connecticut schools only allow children to forego vaccines under special circumstances, including religious and medical reasons.
Dr. Bieluch said patients can most likely make a full recovery from measles, but there’s also the chance of severe consequences, including swelling of the brain and ammonia.
According to the Department of Public Health, there are currently ongoing measles outbreaks in New York and the Pacific Northwest. New York is experiencing one of its largest measles outbreaks in decades, with over 130 cases documented.