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Maryland resident has confirmed case of measles, the first case in the state since 2019

<i>Lindsey Wasson/Reuters</i><br/>A Maryland resident has a confirmed case of measles
Lindsey Wasson/Reuters
A Maryland resident has a confirmed case of measles

By Celina Tebor, CNN

(CNN) — A Maryland resident has a confirmed case of measles, the state’s first case of the infectious disease since 2019, according to a news release from Montgomery County.

The county advised anyone who visited the Cabin John Ice Rink in Bethesda on May 24 or a professional office in Gaithersburg on May 30 may have been exposed to measles.

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness, which can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes or shares germs by touching objects or surfaces. Even after an infected person leaves a room, the measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air.

The disease begins with symptoms typical of many respiratory illnesses, followed by a characteristic rash which usually appears on the face and spreads downward three to five days after symptoms begin.

Measles was declared eliminated from the US in 2000, thanks to an intensive vaccination program, according to the US CDC’s website.

Even if a disease is eliminated, outbreaks can still occur if an unvaccinated person travels to or from a country where the disease is still common, becomes infected and brings it back to the US, introducing the virus into a community. The traveler can transmit measles to anyone who is unvaccinated.

In the US, more than 90% of children have been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella by age 2, according to the CDC. Two doses of the vaccine are 97% effective against measles, according to the CDC.

However, vaccination rates in the US have dropped in recent years, sparking new outbreaks.

There have been 10 measles cases this year in the US as of April 28, the CDC reported.

There were 121 cases of measles in 2022, with many centered on an outbreak in central Ohio, sending 36 children to the hospital. The last significant measles outbreak in the US was in 2018-2019 in Rockland County, New York, focused among unvaccinated children in Orthodox Jewish communities.

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CNN’s Jacqueline Howard and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.

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