Berrien County health officials address uptick in measles cases nationwide

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BENTON HARBOR, Mich - The Berrien County Health Department is addressing the measles outbreak nationwide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control over 100 cases of measles has been confirmed in the U.S. for 2019.

“This is a really good time to remind parents and caregivers and everybody about the importance of vaccines for things like measles so that we can prevent future outbreaks from happening,” Berrien County Health Department Spokeswoman Gillian Conrad said.

Conrad said measles is very contagious if a person is not vaccinated.

“It’s actually one of the most contagious diseases out there so imagine if you had one unvaccinated person who contracted measles about 90% of those people around them if they were unvaccinated could also contract the disease,” Conrad said.

Experts say measles is usually spread by travelers entering or re-entering the country and infecting others.

Each state has rules regarding people being vaccinated.

Michigan allows exemptions from people being vaccinated for religious, personal or philosophical reasons. 

Currently statewide in Michigan approximately 3% of people are unvaccinated and that number is approximately 2% for Berrien County.

Health officials say that herd immunity is key with approximately 90% of a community needs to be vaccinated for a particular disease to prevent it from spreading in the community.

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