CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health (DH) is thanking the public for cooperation in successfully containing the first case of the measles in 15 years.

All first-degree contacts cleared their monitoring period for the disease Friday, May 10th, 2024.

The case in Monongalia County has been linked to international travel and was quickly identified local health care providers and addressed by the DH with the help of local health departments.

Potential exposures included more than 150 people, including 128 West Virginia residents from 30 counties and and 22 in four states.

“Thanks to a swift and comprehensive response through aggressive contact tracing and cooperation from the public, I am pleased to report no additional cases of measles have been reported,” said Secretary Sherri Young, D.O., MBA, FAAFP.

Officials said the the first case of measles in 15 years should be a reminder for residents how important immunizations are for public health. The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine has been proven to be very effective in the prevention of the disease.

“The reason this case of measles was able to be contained is because West Virginia has strong herd immunity, which protects vulnerable people – infants, immunocompromised people, and older adults – from the spread of deadly diseases like measles. The MMR vaccine is the best defense against measles, not only to protect yourself but your loved ones as well,” said Dr. Matthew Christiansen, State Health Officer. “While this case was contained, outbreaks of the virus continue to plague other states. We encourage all West Virginians to check their vaccination records and get vaccinated if they are not immune.”

The MMR vaccine is normally given in two doses with the first recommended between 12 and 15 months of age. The second dose is recommended between four and six years and, in West Virginia, is required before entering kindergarten. Unless there is other proof of immunity, adults born after 1956 should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, and two appropriately spaced doses of MMR vaccines are recommended for healthcare personnel, college students and international travelers.