TAMPA, Fla. - Healthcare providers in Hillsborough County are asked to be on heightened alert for measles after an adult male, who traveled to South America, tested positive for the disease.
Measles is a severe, highly contagious, viral disease that is spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and rash. Symptoms typically begin a week or two after being exposed to someone with measles, but sometimes people don’t show signs until 21 days after exposure.
Measles is usually considered a childhood disease, but it can be contracted at any age. According to the Department of Health, inadequately immunized individuals make up most of the measles cases in the United States and the best way to protect yourself is to be vaccinated.
The DOH recommends children be immunized against measles with the combination measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR). Children should receive two doses of the vaccine, with the first at 12-15 months of age and the second at four to six years of age.
According to the DOH, adults should be vaccinated with at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. A second dose is recommended for those at higher risk, such as international travelers and health care workers. People with underlying health conditions should discuss with their healthcare provider to determine the need for additional booster doses.
The DOH provides free vaccines for babies, children and teens through the age of 18. Adults can receive the MMR vaccine at DOH-Hillsborough for $91. The fee health departments charge varies by county.
In Hillsborough County, the DOH-Hillsborough immunization clinic is located at 8605 N. Mitchell Ave in Tampa, and accepts walk-in's weekdays from 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.