We learned Thursday that the first case of measles had been diagnosed in East Tennessee since 2007, but Tennessee health officials would release no further information about where the patient lived or where people may have been exposed.
But on Friday, the Mississippi State Department of Health said that a Tennessee man who was traveling in their state may have exposed others to the virus.
In a press conference, health officials revealed that the man was not vaccinated, but they had no further identifying information.
They said the man was in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, from April 9-11, and they are trying to get the word out to people who may have been exposed. They have reached out to some specific people they know he was in contact with, and have also identified two restaurants where he ate and may have exposed someone.
Health officials in Mississippi have not identified any related measles cases so far.
They said they had been notified about the man's travels by the Tennessee Department of Health.
The East Tennessee case is the only one we are aware of in the State of Tennessee.
We have reached out to the Tennessee Department of Health and the Knox County Health Department in an effort to learn more about where the patient was from and where they may have exposed people, but they have not released that information. Both offices are closed for Good Friday.
Tennesseans should know the virus is highly contagious and people recently infected may not show any symptoms of the illness for five days, but could still infect others before the typical rash appears, TDH said in the release.
“Most people in Tennessee are vaccinated against measles and that’s important, but infants and those with weakened immune systems are still at high risk for infection,” TDH Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, said in the release. “The measles-mumps-rubella or MMR vaccine is safe and widely available. Call your health care provider to check your immunization status and schedule your vaccine if you haven’t had one.”
TDH urges everyone to make sure they are up-to-date on their MMR vaccines.
Anyone who believes they or someone they know has measles symptoms should call first before going to a health care facility to prevent others from being exposed to the virus, the release said.