Officials Monitoring Two Possible Measles Cases In Portage County

State Health Workers Look To Boost Immunization In Milwaukee

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Health officials in Portage County are waiting for test results on two suspected measles cases involving young children.

If the tests come back positive, they would be the first confirmed measles cases in Wisconsin this year. Portage County Public Health Nursing Supervisor Melanie Baehr said the two young children apparently have not been in contact with each other.

“These two cases are not related. They are both under the age of five. One was fully vaccinated at the age of one, and one was not vaccinated,” she said.

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Baehr said its important to get vaccinated now.

“We are encouraging people to get their vaccinations. If you are at all concerned about it, the best thing to do is stay out of big public areas where there’s a lot of people, and wash your hands and cover your mouth if you’ve got a cough,” she said.

Health departments elsewhere in the state are trying to limit any potential outbreak by getting more children immunized.

The city of Milwaukee said it’s increased the percentage of its school children immunized from 61 percent to 89 percent over the last decade. But with new cases of measles in nearly 20 states, including Illinois, Milwaukee is trying to get thousands more kids immunized and reach at least 95 percent.

City Director of Disease Control Paul Biedrzycki said there are several obstacles getting more children immunized, including the anti-vaccination movement and a need to build “awareness among the new generation of health care providers.”

Milwaukee is offering free measles immunization for kids Saturday at the city’s Keenan Health Center.

Test results from the two Portage County cases could be announced late Friday afternoon, but they may not be ready until Monday.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include information from Melanie Baehr.