Two years after Salt Lake County claimed the dubious distinction of hosting the country's worst measles epidemic, the disease is back in Utah's capital, says the executive director of the Salt Lake City-County Health Department.
Dr. Thomas Schlenker said Utah experienced a statewide resurgence of the highly contagious disease during 1996, with nine case reported statewide."All but one of the reported cases were not MMR immunized and the one immunized case had only received one MMR," Schlenker said. The possibility that one MMR shot is not enough is the basis for requiring a second inoculation for students entering eighth and 12th grade.
The latest case surfaced when a 26-year-old man went to a West Jordan clinic complaining of a cough, inflammation of eye membranes, fever and rash. The clinic's staff members suspected the case was measles and reported it to the department.
"As luck would have it, the young man with measles worked where some of his teenage co-workers had already received their second dose of MMR because of the new health regulation," Schlenker said in a prepared statement. The rule requires all eighth- and 12th-grade students to have a second round of MMR vaccine in order to register for school.