Dear Church Family and Friends of King’s Baptist,
I am writing to notify you about an important health concern. Three of our young adults have contracted measles. While their contact with people outside their homes has been limited, it is possible that others in our church and community might have been exposed.
The most likely occasion a person with contagious measles was in attendance was the April 3, 2015, Friday night worship service, At The Cross. There is a slighter chance of exposure on Wednesday night, April 8 in our regular youth service, Extreme Lives.
We do not believe there are any active cases of measles at present, but it is impossible to rule out the possibility that others in our general community or our church could have been exposed and therefore contract the disease.
We are working with our local health department providing them with all relevant information about this situation.
We are grateful our members who were struck by this are now healthy and well.
If you or a member of your family has not been immunized for measles we strongly encourage you to proactively get those immunizations! This is particularly urgent for children. Most adults have either already contracted measles or been immunized. Children who attend public school are required to have immunizations unless the parents have deliberately opted out. We believe ANY CHILD IN OUR COMMUNITY who has not been immunized should receive this protection from what can be a very dangerous disease.
Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus. In 1980, before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.
The disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children (under the age of 5) globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. The measles vaccine has been in use for 50 years. It is safe, effective and inexpensive. WHO recommends immunization for all susceptible children and adults for whom measles vaccination is not contraindicated. Reaching all children with 2 doses of measles vaccine, either alone, or in a measles-rubella (MR) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combination, should be the standard for all national immunization programmes.
Measles is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family and it is normally passed through direct contact and through the air. The virus infects the mucous membranes, then spreads throughout the body.
Accelerated immunization activities have had a major impact on reducing measles deaths. During 2000-2013, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 15.6 million deaths. Global measles deaths have decreased by 75% from an estimated 544,200 in 2000 to 145,700 in 2013.
Signs and symptoms
The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts 4 to 7 days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about 3 days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for 5 to 6 days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of 7 to 18 days).
Most measles-related deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease. Complications are more common in children under the age of 5, or adults over the age of 20.
Women infected while pregnant are also at risk of severe complications and the pregnancy may end in miscarriage or preterm delivery. People who recover from measles are immune for the rest of their lives.
Who is at risk?
Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death.
Unvaccinated pregnant women are also at risk. Any non-immune person (who has not been vaccinated or was vaccinated but did not develop immunity) can become infected.
Measles is still common in many developing countries – particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. The overwhelming majority (more than 95%) of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures.
The highly contagious virus is spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.
The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to 2 hours. It can be transmitted by an infected person from 4 days prior to the onset of the rash to 4 days after the rash erupts.
King’s Baptist Church