The Tennessee Department of Health is investigating a case of measles in East Tennessee.

While the investigation is currently centered in East Tennessee, all Tennesseans should be aware of measles and its symptoms. These symptoms may include fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots in the mouth. The illness is typically accompanied by a red, spotty rash that begins on the face and spreads over the body. Nearly one in three measles patients will develop ear infections, diarrhea or pneumonia. Measles can be fatal in approximately one to two out of every 1,000 cases.

“Our efforts are focused on preventing the spread of illness to others,” TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD, said. “This appearance of measles is a reminder about the importance of vaccines and how they can particularly protect our most vulnerable, including infants and those with compromised immune systems.”

The measles virus is highly contagious and can stay airborne or live on surfaces for up to two hours. People recently infected with measles may not have any symptoms of illness, but can transmit the virus for about five days before the typical measles rash appears.

For more information about measles, visit www.cdc.gov/features/measles/index.html.

You can access the number of measles cases by county here: https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/health/ceds-weeklyreports/interactive-disease-data.html