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Baltimore City Health Department Investigating Possible Measles Case

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It's the most deadly childhood virus, and it could be right in our area. The Baltimore City Health Department investigates a 12-month-old girl who potentially has the measles.

Rick Ritter has the latest developments on the case.

There hasn't been a documented case of measles in Baltimore City in the last decade. Doctors hope the toddler is just having a reaction to the vaccine. But right now, there's no definitive answer.

What's been the talk of the country, centered around Disneyland in California, generates a scare here in Baltimore City, as health officials investigate a 12-month-old girl for a possible case of the measles.

"It's frightening to think... Could measles be in Baltimore?" said Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City commissioner of health.

The city's health department is now monitoring the case.

On January 2, the toddler received her first measles vaccine. Weeks later, a rash developed, leaving her hospitalized before being placed in isolation at home.

"This child does have a lot of symptoms of measles and also has positive blood testing," said Dr. Wen.

But the city's commissioner of health says since the child was vaccinated, this could be a false alarm.

Ritter: "With that vaccine, it's common to see these reactions?"

Dr. Wen: "Something like five to ten people who receive the vaccine will get a fever, or rash or other mild symptoms."

Doctors say the virus is highly contagious. An infected person can sicken 12 to 18 people who haven't been vaccinated just by not covering their mouth when they sneeze.

Symptoms like fever, cough and rash follow.

"The younger, the older, the immune compromised. Those are the three target areas," said Dr. Peter Andrews, Sinai Hospital.

Given the measles outbreak that started at California's Disneyland and is quickly spreading, doctors say it's better to be safe than sorry.

Health officials do not believe the case is connected to the recent outbreak in California.

Doctors say the little girl is doing very well and has been recovering at home.  They expect to get the test results back from the CDC by the end of next week.

Nearly 99 percent of children in Baltimore City are vaccinated.

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