No Measles Outbreak in Ann Arbor After All

Peretz Hirshbein, director of child and family services at the JCC in Ann Arbor, informed parents yesterday that there was no measles outbreak after all.

“I just received a call from the county health department giving me the news that the child who tested positive for measles did NOT have measles,” he wrote. “The virus sample was subjected to genotyping, and the genetic material was determined to be a match to that of the vaccine, NOT the wild virus. This means that the child had a vaccine reaction that resembled measles symptoms, and did not in fact have measles.”

The MMR vaccine contains a weakened live virus that cannot cause measles but can result in positive lab tests. Experts note that reactions to vaccines can sometimes resemble the disease itself, but cannot result in transmission of the disease, since the disease itself is not present.

What this means, Hirshbein wrote, “There was no measles exposure in the building, so none of our children need to be isolated. We look forward to seeing our babies back as soon as tomorrow.

“While this was a false alarm, I am grateful for the zealous protection of the public’s health by our county health department,” he continued. “We completely understand the immediate response and need to act swiftly given the information available at the time. Had this been a true case of measles, waiting to act until genotyping could have been disastrous.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a released reducing the statewide count of measles for 2019 to 39, eliminating the child in Ann Arbor and another child in Oakland County, who also had a reaction to the vaccine.  Thirty-nine cases have been confirmed as measles.

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