Measles Cases Are Exploding Among Afghan Refugees
The number of confirmed measles cases among Afghan refugees is now 6, with cases in Virginia and Wisconsin. Six cases may sound low however it gives cause for great concern as measles are frighteningly contagious.
According to the CDC, if a person is infected with measles 90% of the unvaccinated people in close proximity to them will contract the virus. A person is contagious for four days before the rash appears and for four days after it clears, and the virus can live on a surface for up to two hours.
One of the cases was reported at a Wisconsin army base Fort McCoy on Sept. 5,. According to task force spokesperson Cheryl Phillips, some 8,000 refugees are currently housed at the facility, though only one arrival displayed symptoms.
Other refugees who had been exposed to the individual have been quarantined and vaccinated for the measles, according to Phillips.
Three Afghan refugees have been diagnosed with measles in northern Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health has reportedly been in contact with individuals who were potentially exposed to refugees at Dulles International Airport and two hospitals as well.
“The Virginia Department of Health has identified five individuals diagnosed with measles and is reaching out to people in the Central Health Region and the Northern Health Region who may have been exposed to those individuals,” the agency issued in a statement on Tuesday. “The people confirmed to have measles recently traveled from Afghanistan as part of the United States government’s emergency evacuation efforts.”
VDH officials notified authorities at Fort Pickett, a National Guard base temporarily hosting Afghan refugees, about potential exposures, according to the agency.