Area health departments concerned over measles outbreak

Local News

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) With 839 cases of measles confirmed in 23 states since the start of 2019, area health officials are sending a message, urging all to take precautions to stop the spread of this dangerous disease.

“It’s very dangerous, measles is actually one of the most contagious diseases that there are,” said Debra Armbruster, Health Director for De Pere.

“We want everyone to be vaccinated,” said Ann Steinberger from the Brown County Health Department

In a joint release from health departments in Oneida, De Pere and Brown County, medical experts are reminding residents that we’re seeing the greatest number of measles cases in the country in 25 years. And while measles hasn’t been reported in Wisconsin, that could quickly change with cases found in Iowa, Illinois and Michigan.

“I think we need to be very concerned,” said Armbruster. “We have it surrounding Wisconsin. And with people traveling like they do, it’s just a matter of time.”

Being proactive these health departments are raising public awareness, with flyers in hospitals and posters at Austin Straubel Airport. They are also preparing for a tabletop exercise on how to respond should measles reach Northeast Wisconsin.

“We really wanted to collaborate, because what affects us here also affects us in another jurisdiction,” said Steinberger.

“We just need to have one child, one person have measles, and it could go rampant within the school,” said Armbruster.

But Armbruster  and her colleagues says that scenario can be avoided if everyone is immunized – protected by this vaccine. 

The De Pere Health Department is also working with the school district to identify which students or staff aren’t fully immunized, ahead of a possible outbreak.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.