Vermont sees first measles case in 10 years

For the first time in 10 years, the Vermont Department of Health has reported a laboratory-confirmed case of measles, identified from an unvaccinated individual from southeastern Vermont.

The department has investigated the limited exposures identified in Vermont and, as of yet, there have been no additional cases identified. The last case of measles reported in Vermont was 10 years ago, WPTZ.com reports.

Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease that is uncommon in the United States but has resurged in some areas and across Europe this year. Of the 118 cases of measles reported in the U.S. through May 20 of this year, 40 percent of those infected were hospitalized. Cases have been reported in Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, Utah and Rhode Island.

"Every child in Vermont who is eligible should be vaccinated against measles to avoid illness and the very serious consequences that may occur with measles," Harry Chen, Vermont’s health commissioner, said, according to WPTZ.com.

Ten thousand cases of measles were reported in France during the first four months of 2011. with 360 of those cases resulting in severe measles pneumonia and 12 cases of encephalitis, a complication that often results in permanent brain damage. There have also been six measles-related deaths.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that may require a vaccination rate of 95 percent or higher to provide herd or community immunity against the disease from spreading. The measles vaccination rate for young children in Vermont is reported to be 92 percent.