Indiana University Bloomington officials say a student has a confirmed case of measles. Public health officials are investigating the student’s movements to identify others who could be infected after coming into contact with the student, according to an IU statement.
The statement says the unnamed student arrived on the Bloomington campus on Jan. 2 and self-isolated on Jan. 6 after being diagnosed with measles. The student, who lives at McNutt Residence Hall, arrived before spring classes began to take part in new student orientation activities.
According to IU, university officials are working with the Monroe County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health to try to prevent any additional infections.
All IU students are required to show proof of two measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations prior to enrollment. Health officials recommend getting vaccinated if you haven’t before, and taking precautions to avoid infection.
Dr. Diana Ebling, the medical director for the IU Health Center, says the measles virus starts off similar to a cold and can be contagious for more than a week.
“It usually starts with a fever, cough, sore throat sometimes, runny nose, which many illnesses start like that,” Ebling says. “But that usually precedes the measles rash by two to four days.”
Ebling says frequent handwashing throughout the day and sneezing or coughing into tissues can help prevent the spread of disease. She also says those who are properly vaccinated shouldn’t be overly worried because the vaccine is highly effective.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two doses of MMR vaccine are 97 percent effective against measles.
Monroe County Health Department Administrator Penny Caudill says measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person.
“Anyone who develops measles symptoms—even if they have received MMR vaccine—should stay home and immediately call their healthcare provider,” Caudill said in a statement. “Please do not arrive at your provider or the emergency room without calling first if you have symptoms.”
Lindsey Wright contributed to this report.