Measles confirmed in South Carolina for first time in 20 years


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)–  The highly contagious measles virus is now confirmed in the Palmetto State. This is the first confirmed case in the state this year and the Department of Health and Environmental control is warning parents.  It has been more than 20 years since South Carolina has seen a case of the measles. Many states across the country have been battling Measles outbreaks– including North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.  

According to the director of the USC School of Medicine’s Research Center Christine Turley said someone who has measles might have it for four days before even knowing they are infected, and by that time it’d be too late to contain the spread of the virus.

“If there are 10 people in a room who haven’t had a vaccine and they’re exposed to someone who has the measles, 9 of them are going to get the measles. It’s very contagious,” Turley said.

Turley said the problem is twofold. The first side is that parents do not vaccinate their kids even though it is deemed completely safe. The second issue is that people travel to countries where measles is still a problem. That even includes England and France according to Turley.

“We’ve eradicated the measles in the US that is spread naturally in 2000. But here we are in 2018, and we’re still grappling with measles because people are traveling so much they’re bringing it from other parts of the world,” Turley said.

Turley said there is no treatment for measles. But there is hope, and DHEC and the CDC are hoping parents take note and vaccinate their kids. Or, if you are not sure you ever received the vaccine, it is never too late to get one.

“It’s a very effective vaccine. It lasts your whole life. It doesn’t fall away. It’s very effective and it protects people very well,” Turley said.

Turley said about 73% of kids in the state get the vaccine, but to be able to completely get rid of the virus in the US, everyone needs the vaccine.

“Our children have the potential to get the measles. And we have the potential to prevent that. And we can only do that as parents if we commit ourselves to take the steps to things we know we can do. We know we can prevent it, we know it’s safe, we know it works,” Turley said.

Having the measles first looks like a cold, but then someone infected will develop the signature measles rash and high fever and some of those cases can lead to death. So the CDC and DHEC are urging all parents to make sure to get the vaccine for their kids because, as Turley said, this is completely preventable.

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