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Epidemiologist Says Measles Outbreak Under Control

By Brittany Nicholson
By bnicholson@wbbjtv.com

WEST JACKSON -- It has been more than three decades since measles were last reported in Madison County, and now, the Jackson Madison County Health Department said there are 2 suspected cases in the area.

Health officials say each person has been quarantined and they do not see a reason to panic, but some, like mother Sabrina Griswell, say the term "measles outbreak" invokes fear.

"I've got a 20-month-old and I just don't want him to be sick with the measles," Griswell said.

Epidemiologist Shanna Shearon with Jackson Madison County Health Department said there is no need to panic.

"There shouldn't be any worry right now with that," Shearon said. "All contacts have been approached by public health."

Health officials said they have one confirmed case of measles. This person traveled to a country with a measles epidemic at the beginning of April.

"There are four other cases that are directly linked to the index case, which is the confirmed case. Those have not come back positive. As of yet we do not have confirmation on that," Shearon said.

Still, Griswell said the news of the recent outbreak will make her approach situations differently.

"I would keep [my son] away from children. If I did know they had some kind of virus or disease or something," Griswell said.

Shearon said she believes those exposed were caught early enough to prevent the measles from spreading across West Tennessee, and that at this time, the community risk is low.

As part of their investigation, they have traced each contact to the measles and have taken action to prevent the disease, and are now working to educate the public.

In all, the Tennessee Department of Health is investigating five cases of measles in Madison, Shelby, Gibson, Hamilton and Hardeman counties.