Jefferson County residents concerned over report of measles

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. - Jefferson County residents are expressing concerns about vaccinations now that a confirmed case of measles has been reported in the county.

Kelley Vollmar, the director of the Jefferson County Health Department, says the adult who has the measles had contact with a small number of people and has self-quarantined.  She says this is not a countywide problem.

The department learned last week the infected patient got the disease while in another state, though department officials did not identify that state.

"The individual had limited public exposure and so with that in mind and with the ability to be able to track down the direct contacts we feel fairly confident that we have this is a pretty confined case," Vollmar said.

The highly contagious disease can spread through coughing and sneezing, and the virus can live for up to two hours in the air or on a surface. The county health director says the department has identified everyone in the small group the infected person has come in contact with recently and is interviewing them about possible symptoms.  Still, residents are concerned about parents who choose not to get their children vaccinated.

“I had all my kids vaccinated and my grandchildren are all vaccinated, so I’m not too worried about it for me but I don't know there people out there that don't believe in vaccinations. That kind of concerns me," said De Soto resident Cindy Hooker.

Health officials say if you got the measles vaccine when you were a child it should be effective for your whole life unless you are exposed to those who have measles and then you may need a booster shot. A blood test can show if your vaccine is still effective.

"I have a grandson son that goes to high school and you know it only takes one person to spread it and it’s there," said Hillsboro resident Bonnie Boatright. "Some people don't get their kids vaccinated and those kids are at a bigger risk than our kids."

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