KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health says it has contacted more than 600 people who may have come in contact with a person with the measles in East Tennessee and providing them with guidance.
A spokesperson told 10News they would not be providing any additional information at this time about the patient, including what part of East Tennessee the person is from or where they might have been.
What information we do know about the state's first case of the measles this year is from the Mississippi Department of Health. They held a press conference on Friday warning the public that a man from Tennessee had traveled there and may have exposed others to the measles. They also revealed that the man was unvaccinated.
The Tennessee Department of Health issued a press release on Thursday only saying someone in East Tennessee had been diagnosed, then was off for Good Friday.
We had a lot of questions, and so do our viewers.
Dawn Sherman asked on Facebook, "How is it that the people of Mississippi can get much needed information about where and who may have been exposed but the entire East Tennessee population is left in the dark as they will not release where in East Tennessee people may have been exposed. Sad, sad Tennessee officials, always behind in the release of important information concerning public safety."
Hilary Henry said, "They need to at least let people know if they could have possibly been exposed by letting us know where all he had been."
And Lee Watts wanted to know, "Where in TN is the measles? I need to protect my infant."
When we reached out to Tennessee health officials on Monday with those questions, 10News received the following statement:
We are conducting a standard contact investigation and, as part of this effort, have identified people who may have been exposed to the patient in Tennessee, and we are contacting these individuals to provide guidance. We are not providing any additional information to prevent identification of the individual. All Tennesseans are urged to ensure they are up-to date on MMR vaccine. Anyone who believes they or a loved one has measles symptoms should call first before going to a health care facility to keep others from being exposed.
Many people are also posting on Facebook that some people at UT Medical Center may have been exposed to the measles patient.
When we asked UTMC if that were true, a spokesperson said he could not confirm or deny anything and referred us to the state and Knox County Health Department.
A spokesperson for the Knox County Health Dept. referred us to the Tennessee Department of Health.
We are still working to confirm more information, and will pass it along if and when we do.