UPDATE: The Tennessee Department of Health now says five cases of measles have been confirmed in Tennessee as of May 1.

Three of the five cases were confirmed by the Tennessee Department of Health State Public Health Laboratory Monday. These two cases are associated with the first measles case in Tennessee this year which was announced April 18 and were identified as part of the ongoing investigation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an 'outbreak' as 3 or more cases.

“We expected to have more measles cases linked to the first one, and these new cases occurred in people we had identified and were monitoring as contacts of the first patient,” said Tennessee Immunization Program Medical Director Michelle Fiscus, MD, FAAP. “The good news is there are no additional contacts of these new cases that have not already been identified.”

TDH is providing information about measles and how to prevent it online. This page includes the number of measles cases in the state this year, which will be updated daily by 3 p.m. Central time if additional cases are confirmed.

Measles symptoms may include fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots in the mouth. Several days after these symptoms start, a red, spotty rash typically begins on the face and spreads over the body. Symptoms may develop any time in the 21 days following exposure to the illness.

The state health department urges residents to check to ensure they are up-to date on MMR vaccine, which is extremely effective in preventing infection. 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, according to state health officials.

Anyone who believes they or a loved one has measles symptoms should stay home and contact a health care provider to make arrangements to visit a health care facility before going to a health care center to prevent further exposure of others to the illness.

People with questions about how to protect themselves against measles should call a health care provider, the local health department online or a hotline established to provide answers to questions from the public about measles. The hotline number is 865-549-5343; calls to the hotline will be answered from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central time/8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.