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IU continues measles investigation, offers health advice



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The best protection and way to prevent measles is to have two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, known as MMR. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

A student living in McNutt Residence Hall was diagnosed with measles, according to an IU press release Wednesday.  

Local, IU and state health officials are investigating who the student may have come in contact with when he first arrived in Bloomington on Jan. 2 for New Student Orientation, according to the press release. Chuck Carney, IU’s spokesperson, said once the infected student felt ill, they immediately went to the health center.

“The student did the right thing,” Carney said.

Measles is extremely contagious for anyone who hasn’t received their Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations, Carney said, and students should be careful.

“If you feel bad, don’t try and tough it out,” Carney said.

Most IU students should have had their two doses of the vaccine, as the University requires students to have them in order to enroll in their second semester of classes.

Students and faculty who have not been vaccinated should contact their primary care provider or the IU Health Center.

IU Health Center can be contacted at 812-855-5002 during office hours or 812-855-4011 after hours.

While students and faculty should feel free to contact the health center with concerns, Dr. Diana Ebling, the medical director at IU Health Center, said most of the University population should be safe. 

The MMR vaccine for measles is 97 percent effective after two doses. Ebling said that outside of a religious or medical exemption, of which there are very few, IU requires MMR vaccinations. 

Both Ebling and Carney agreed that much of what students and faculty can do to feel safer both about measles and other diseases, like the flu, is practice common sense and rules of good hygiene.

Ebling said students should avoid contact with anyone who seems ill with measles or the flu, and also stressed how vital simply washing hands is to staying healthy.

Symptoms for measles include: high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and tiny white spots that may appear inside the mouth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms usually start appearing about seven to 14 days after a person is first infected.

There hasn’t been a case of measles at IU since 2013, when only one case was reported.

Measles has largely been eliminated from the United States as of 2000, but cases have appeared throughout the country, with as many as 120 reported as of December 2017, according to the CDC.

The disease is much more common abroad, Ebling said. Measles often appears if someone without the vaccination travels outside the U.S., or if an international student comes to the U.S. 

If students are feeling unwell, Carney and Ebling both encourage them to do like the student with measles did and come to the health center to be tested.

Since the student came in to the center relatively quickly when symptoms appeared, Carney said the University is confident they understand the scope of the disease and have it contained to this one case.

However, The Monroe County Health Department sent out a press release on Thursday asking people who had been at certain places to report themselves to a health clinic or hospital.

Locations included in the MCHD press release:

Bed Bath & Beyond at 731 S. College Mall Rd. on Jan. 3, between 4 and 7:45 p.m..

The CVS pharmacies on both 2701 E. Third Street and the CVS at 510 S. College Mall Road on Jan. 6 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

People who rode the Go Express Shuttle:

The shuttle departing the Indianapolis International Airport for Bloomington at 6:40 PM on Jan. 2, 2018 as well the arrival shuttle to Indianapolis International Airport from Bloomington at 10:30 p.m. the same day.

Anyone who stayed or visited the Bloomington Holiday Inn at 1710 N. Kinser Pike between 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3. Also anyone who ate at the restaurant, Burger Theory, at the same address, between 8:45 a.m. and 12 p.m on Jan. 3.

Resources for students

Students with symptoms should stay home, isolate themselves as much as possible and call before going to the IU Health Center at 812-855-5002 during office hours or 812-855-4011 after hours.

For more information about vaccinations students can visit the Monroe County Public Health Clinic website or the CDC site

This story will be updated if more information becomes available. 

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