The Marion County Public Health Department is reporting a possible measles exposure that occurred at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

What Causes an Increase in Measles Cases in the US?

What causes an increase in measles cases in America? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contributes it to those who travel abroad and may bring the virus into the United States. They also say unvaccinated populations can contribute to a rise in cases as well.

What Are Measles and What Do Symptoms Look Like?

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. In addition to a rash commonly seen in those infected by the virus, it also causes respiratory issues with symptoms including high fever, runny nose, cough, and red, watery eyes. Symptoms typically take seven to fourteen days to appear after a person becomes infected by the virus. The CDC says that when the rash appears, usually 3 to 5 days after the initial onset of other symptoms, fevers can spike to more than 104 degrees.

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How Is Measles Transmitted?

Measles is highly contagious and easily communicable. Those infected with the disease can spread it to others for "four days before through four days after" the first appearance of the rash. Since the virus lives within the mucus and throat of an infected person, it becomes aerosolized when they cough or sneeze, distributing the virus into the air around them. The measles virus can live in the air for two hours after an infected person leaves a space.

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Possible Measles Exposure in Marion County Indiana

While many Americans are vaccinated against viruses like Measles, outbreaks do still occur. In a press release, the Marion County Health Departments says that at this time there have been no confirmed cases of measles in Marion County. However, those in attendance at a recent public event hosted by the children's museum may have resulted in exposure to the disease.

Anyone exposed and susceptible to measles would most likely see symptoms develop before April 22, though symptoms could be seen as late as April 29 based on the virus’ incubation period. The risk to the general public remains low.

Measles Exposure Occurred During Solar Eclipse Event in Indianapolis

On April 8, 2024, the Indianapolis Children's Museum hosted a viewing party for the total solar eclipse. They say there was someone from out of state who was in attendance of the event and that person was contagious with the measles virus. Anyone who was in attendance should monitor for symptoms.

[Source: Marion County Public Health Department; CDC]

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