Measles case confirmed in Alabama

The Alabama Department of Health, on Thursday, confirmed the first case of measles in Alabama in 2019.

Posted: May 2, 2019 12:07 PM
Updated: May 2, 2019 7:45 PM

The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed the first active case of the measles in the state. The virus was found in a child less than 1, who isn't even old enough to get the vaccine. 

One parent said it worries him that this case is nearby. 

"My kids have been okay so far, but I will keep a close eye on them, knowing that it's spread down here. It's kind of scary," said Nicholas Allison. 

The baby who is infected is in St. Clair County, just east of Birmingham and about 100 miles south of Huntsville. Doctors at Huntsville Hospital say they have been preparing for measles by having staff members on standby. 

Dr. Ali Hassoun is an infectious disease specialist at Huntsville Hospital and says it was only a matter of time before the state confirmed the first active case of the contagious virus. 

"Now, they are reporting one case of an infant that is positive for measles, and I'll tell you, I wouldn't be surprised to see more cases," Hassoun said. 

Although the infant isn't old enough to receive the vaccine, Hassoun says this is why everyone needs to get their shots. 

"The idea when we say, 'Please get vaccinated and reduce your chances of infection,' is not just about you," Hassoun said. "It's about everybody else as well, because if you get infected, it's not just your sickness. You can transmit it to those especially at higher risk."

The same sentiment was repeated by Allison, who told WAAY 31, "It's not just to protect one or two kids, it's to protect the whole school."

The Alabama Department of Public Health says the infant did not travel outside of the state or the country. State officials believe the baby was considered contagious from April 23rd to May 1st. They are working with the family to investigate how the child was exposed.

Hassoun says a measles outbreak would be far more dangerous than the flu. 

"It's not going to be confined to winter time. It really can transmit between the kids, and this can continue for many, many months," Hassoun said.

State officials say there is no shortage of vaccines and emphasize people should get their shots. Alabama now becomes the 23rd state to report a case of the measles. 

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