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Wake Co. Teen Released After Surviving Measles

Skin of a person after 3 days of measles infection.
Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Skin of a person after 3 days of measles infection.

An unvaccinated Wake County teen has survived a case of the measles. He contracted the potentially lethal disease after traveling in Europe, according to health officials.

The patient has been released from isolation, but the Wake County Health Department is warning residents who visited RDU, the Cary YMCA and six other sites in late July that they might have been exposed to measles while he was contagious.

Wake County Health Director Dr. Kim McDonald said measles is an airborne virus that causes flu like symptoms followed by a rash. It's also highly contagious. Anyone presenting these symptoms should see a doctor immediately, she said.

"If you put 10 people in a room with someone who has the disease and those 10 people are unvaccinated, nine of them will become sick," said McDonald.

McDonald said this is the first measles case in Wake County in decades. About 90 percent of the U.S. population is now immune to measles, and McDonald credits a robust national vaccine program for that.

"It's a perfect opportunity for us to remind people that vaccination is probably the best way to keep from getting this particular disease, as well as other vaccine-preventable diseases," McDonald said.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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