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Measles exposure at South Lansing Speedway

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Posted at 10:17 PM, Apr 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-17 22:17:46-04

LANSING, Mich. — "Obviously, far and above the best way to prevent the measles is to be vaccinated for the measles," said Linda Vail, Ingham County Health Officer.

A Lansing gas station is linked to the measles outbreak in Oakland County and Detroit. In total, state health officials have confirmed 43 cases, one of them confirmed Wednesday evening.

FOX 47 News learned an infected person stopped in the Speedway on Pennsylvania and Miller Road in Lansing on his way to Grand Rapids.

The person stopped by between 11 PM and 1 AM on April 11. The person did go inside the station, meaning the virus only stuck around for two hours.

As of Wednesday coming to the Speedway or even touching a gas pump isn't enough to get you sick.

"I'm feeling a little grateful right now that it was a gas station stop at 11 o'clock at night as opposed to we could be dealing with someone who went to the mall," said Vail.

Michigan's worst outbreak of measles in more than two decades is now hitting close to home. The last outbreak was in 1991 when there were 65 cases. Between 2001 and 2012 there were only 60 cases on average a year in the entire U.S.

"Absolutely, absolutely it is a scary time and I don't blame them, I don't blame them a bit. I'm a grandmother I have two granddaughters and one of them is just old enough to have gotten her vaccine," said Vail.

Officials said a sure way to decrease this is to "get vaccinated, I'll just be honest with you get vaccinated," said Vail.

For those that might be on the edge of getting their kids vaccinated, experts said that a study linking the vaccine to autism has been retracted and proven false.

"The risk of having an adverse side effect from a vaccine is way, way, way smaller than contracting these diseases and having the effect of these diseases basically impact you in the immediate term, encephalitis, high fevers, it can affect the brain. And in the long term in terms of other things that can happen as a result of contracting these diseases," said Vail.

Some adults who were vaccinated as children may need another shot. Health officials said adults who got the vaccine before 1989 might need a booster because that's the year they came out with a second dose of the vaccine. Meaning those getting the MMR vaccine after 1989 would be administered in two doses.

The first vaccine to the MMR came out in 1963, but it didn't prove to be effective. That lead to a changed dose in 1967, still only one dose was administered, until the two parts available in 1989.

As for people born before 1957, officials said they're considered immune because most of them probably had the measles or were exposed to it at a young age.

"Vaccine registry, which are these online ways of putting these vaccine records in, didn't exist back then we carried around a little card that had all that information written on it. Some people might have those and might still know, and other people might not have those and don't know. In that "I don't know" stage there is absolutely no harm in getting vaccinated again," said Vail.

If you think you were at the Speedway on 6401 Pennsylvania Ave. and were not vaccinated, health officials suggest you get the shot.

FOX 47 News has reached out to Speedway for a comment, and we have not heard back yet.

The number of measles cases is in Michigan, has now grown to 43. The three new cases added to the expanding list Wednesday are in the previously affected Wayne and Oakland counties.

In Michigan, the ages of the infected range from 8 months to 63 years old. The state's measles outbreak dates back to March 13th, when the health department reported the first case came from someone "visiting from Israel following a stay in New York."

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