MEASLES: If you stopped at these TN locations, you could be exposed

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee Department of Health identified two East Tennessee locations and time frames in which people could have been exposed to measles.

Mapco
200 Browns Ferry Road, Chattanooga
April 11, 2019 from 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Speedway
2148 North Charles G. Seivers Blvd.,
Clinton April 12, 2019 from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Here's what TDH recommends you should do if you believe you could have come into contact with the infected individual:

- Check your vaccination status. Locate your immunization records. People who have had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella or MMR vaccine are protected against measles and need to take no further action in regard to an exposure to measles. Contact your health care provider if you cannot locate your immunization records and/or are not certain if you are immune to measles.

- If you are not immune to measles, watch for symptoms of the illness. Measles symptoms may include fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots in the mouth. Several days after these symptoms start, a red, spotty rash typically begins on the face and spreads over the body. Symptoms may develop any time in the 21 days following exposure to the illness. Nearly one in three measles patients will develop ear infections, diarrhea or pneumonia.

- If you develop measles symptoms, stay home and contact your health care provider. Those with symptoms of measles should first call a health care provider to make arrangements to visit a health care facility before going to a health care center in order to prevent further exposure of others to the illness. "

TDH said they are identifying and notifying individuals who may have been exposed to measles by the infected person who passed through the state.

Officials said more than 600 people are on the list of those who may have been exposed to the virus.

“Most people in Tennessee are vaccinated against measles and are protected against this illness,” said TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “This appearance of measles is a reminder about the importance of vaccines in protecting our population, and we urge everyone who has not been vaccinated to do so now to protect themselves, their families, their coworkers, and their communities.”

One mom isn't concerned. Beth Thurman had her two kids vaccinated.

"If my kids weren't vaccinated, I'd have a lot of regrets," said Thurman."My kids are vaccinated, so I have no problem because they're not going to get it, even if they were exposed to it."

By far most children in the U.S. are vaccinated, but a growing number of parents fear vaccines could cause other health problems.
Dr. Eric Penniman said social media is causing some parents to make dangerous choices.

"Here in the United States, there's a big movement to undermine the health of our country by giving misinformation out there," said Penniman. "So, Google and Facebook are not reliable sources for information on vaccinations."

According to a previous report, a person diagnosed with measles traveled from Tennessee through the state of Mississippi between April 9 and April 11.

The contacted individuals will have to answer a series of questions to determine their level of vulnerability. The questions they will be asked include:

- Have they received the MMR vaccine?
- Have they received a booster?

The health department will then provide guidance to each individual depending on their circumstances.

"It would be really hard as a parent to see your kid suffering, if you know you could have prevented it," said Thurman.