Baltimore, Maryland, is still officially free of the wild-type measles after the genotype testing from the measles virus revealed that the 12-month-old baby who ended up in the ER on January 21 with measles-like symptoms was simply experiencing a reaction to her MMR vaccine. The baby in Baltimore had been vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella at the beginning of the month, according to the health department press release available for download on the city’s website.
The baby was treated at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital. While at John Hopkins, she tested positive for the measles virus. From there, a sample was sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for genotype testing. The Baltimore City Health Department teamed up with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Center for Disease Control, and the Baltimore hospitals to determine whether the girl was just having a reaction to her MMR, or if the population of Baltimore was facing a measles outbreak for the first time in a decade, according to the Baltimore Sun.
As the Inquisitr reported earlier, health officials did suspect that the baby was suffering from a reaction from her MMR because she had no connections to the measles cases that began in California, didn’t travel, and hadn’t been exposed to anyone who had been recently ill. Still, out of an abundance of caution, health officials acted swiftly to trace contacts and obtain further laboratory testing from the CDC in Atlanta after the initial measles test showed the girl was positive for the measles virus.
“When we investigated the case, we were fairly certain that this was a false alarm,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen explained of the MMR reaction. “However, given that measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world, and given the outbreak going on around the country, we took every precaution in case this child turned out to have measles. Our health department’s epidemiologists and doctors worked around the clock to perform contact tracing to safeguard the public.”
According to the Baltimore Sun, though the city has a vaccination rate among children of 99 percent, Wen urged Baltimore residents to consider the situation a wake-up call.
“This should be a wake-up call, however, for any parents or caregivers who have not had their children immunized. Getting children vaccinated against all types of preventable diseases protects not only that child, but everyone around them.”
According to the World Health Organization’s Department of Vaccines And Biologicals, a measles-like rash can be found in approximately 2 percent of children vaccinated with an MMR vaccine.
According to Merck’s MMR documents accepted by the FDA, there are no reports of measles virus transmission passed on to others from the vaccine measles virus. The MMR is a live vaccine; however, it is attenuated. While there is a theoretical possibility of the rubella virus being transmitted to others from a vaccinated child, according to Merck, there has been no confirmed cases of this happening. The only time any virus within the MMR has been documented to be passed from one individual to another was, according to Merck, from mother to infant via breast milk. Health officials were relieved to learn the results of the genotype test and are confident that, because the baby had a reaction to her MMR vaccine rather than infectious wild-type measles, there is no risk to the people of Baltimore.
[Photo via the CDC stock photos]