Measles cases become scarce since month-long string of outbreaks in the Metro Detroit area.
By Michael Pearce
The measles outbreak which took place in metro Detroit for about a month has since died down. After 43 measles cases were reported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services from March 13 to April 17, news surrounding measles has silenced.
During an interview in April with the Detroit Jewish news, epidemiologist Dr. Jeffrey Band predicted that the outbreaks would be under control after Passover, due to the efforts of local health departments identifying possible exposure zones and getting people vaccinated within 72 hours of exposure.
His prediction has been proven correct almost one month later, as he has seen no further cases of measles.
“It has died down largely because of the health department’s excellent surveillance coupled with low 90s immunity rates,” Band said. “In any case in a cluster, we have a high chance of extermination. It is harder in big cities like New York, but we are able to exterminate easier.”
Band believes that the outbreak raised awareness of the measles problem and prompted people to get vaccinated, with help from the health departments.
“It’s been a wonderful effort from the Pontiac and Southfield departments,” he said. “Not only on-site, but at certain locales as well, bringing the vaccinations to a public place such as a synagogue.”
This measles outbreak has also raised more awareness for vaccines in general. Recently Band saw a college student with a case of rubella, commonly known as the “mumps”, which is preventable with the same MMR vaccine that combats measles.
“It’s been at least 10 years since the last mumps case I’ve seen,” he said.
The Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) explains that if you do not have documentation of two measles (MMR) vaccines from a doctor or Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR), get vaccinated. If you are unsure if you have had measles in the past, contact your healthcare provider or visit a location above to get vaccinated.