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A visitor to Kent Co. is diagnosed with the measles

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According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human services, the individual who contracted the disease has left the area and is back home in Detroit. 

“The disease spreads through respiratory droplets, so not just sneezing or coughing but even just from when someone who has measles is breathing that can be enough to get the droplets into the air and infect someone else.” 

That is Dr. Nirali Bora, the medical director at the Kent County Health Department. Bora said the virus can stay in the area where the infected person was for up to two hours. 

Although no one living in Kent County has been diagnosed with measles, Mary Wasinski, from the health department, says its important that everyone who can, receives the vaccine to protect those who may be more vulnerable to get the virus. 

“Older adults they have a lot of chronic conditions and many of the medications make them immunocompromised, were they to get it the complications could be worst.” 

Unless an individual requests a waiver, they are required to receive the two doses of the measles vaccine by the child’s first day of school. To be able to receive a non-medical waiver, the parent or guardian needs to make an appointment at the health department. 

“The main things that we find are that people are concerned about vaccine schedule, vaccine safety or vaccine ingredients.”

People can also receive a waiver for religious reasons with no questions asked. According to Wasinski, last year 11,000 people received the waiver.

“Traditionally in Kent County, we have a very low waiver rate, its about 3 percent.”

In Michigan there have been 42 cases of the measles reported, almost all of them have been in Oakland county. Across the country, there are 555 cases – the majority of them in New York state. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.  

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