HARTFORD — The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed a fourth case of measles in 2019.
DPH says the person affected is a ‘school-aged’ child from Fairfield County. Health investigators say the child was not infectious while at school. Officials say this latest case of measles is not related to the other three, previously confirmed cases in the state.
“We are monitoring and investigating this case very closely, including working with our local health departments and medical providers to follow up with any individuals that may have been exposed to measles,” said Connecticut DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell. “Science tells us that the single best thing anyone can do to protect themselves from this highly contagious virus is to get vaccinated. Overall, Connecticut has high vaccination rates, so we are at low risk for a widespread measles outbreak. This latest confirmed case, coupled with declining statewide immunization numbers for measles, is exactly why Governor Lamont and I are recommending the repeal of non-medical exemptions for vaccination.”
Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell continued, “If you have a fever and a rash and you think you might have measles, you should avoid public settings and call your healthcare provider before going directly to a healthcare facility so steps can be taken to avoid possibly exposing others.”
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) said in a statement:
“News of the fourth outbreak this year is very troubling. My thoughts are with the child and the family from Fairfield County, right in our own backyard, during this difficult time. The health of our residents is at stake from a completely preventable disease. It is imperative we remove non-medical exemptions to increase vaccination rates statewide.”
The CT Freedom Alliance group issued a statement on the matter, saying that Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell was irresponsible attributing this newest case of measles to religious vaccination exemptions:
“For Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell to publicly state that this is proof that we need to repeal the religious exemption in Connecticut is irresponsible and a dereliction of her duties,” remarked Dawn Jolly, Co-Founder of the CT Freedom Alliance. “At this point, we don’t know where the virus was contracted, whether the child was vaccinated for the measles, whether it was a wild strain or a vaccine strain, or even whether the child attends school in the state. It is therefore premature and inaccurate to declare that this case provides proof of the need to strip thousands of Connecticut children of their constitutional rights to education and the free exercise of religion. Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell is abusing her position to create pandemonium in order to further the political agenda of the Governor and Democratic leadership.”
From January 1 to October 1, 2019, 1,249 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 31 states, DPH says. This is the largest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.
For more information about measles, please visit www.cdc.gov/measles