MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed the state’s first case of the measles, the agency announced on Thursday.
The department tweeted that the investigation is currently just focusing on that portion of the state, but encouraged all Tennesseans to know the symptoms and to take action if an up to date MMR vaccine if needed.
Officials said only 15 other cases have been diagnosed in the state in the last decade. The largest and most recent outbreak consisted of seven cases in Shelby County in 2016.
The announcement came as the number of cases across the nation surge and are on pace to set a record for most illnesses in 25 years. Health officials on Monday said 555 measles cases have been confirmed in the U.S. so far this year.
Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable respiratory illness characterized by a rash of flat red spots. Symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. If you develop these symptoms, you are encouraged to call your doctor first before visiting a health care facility, where others could be exposed to the illness.