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Two cases of German measles reported in Oklahoma

Updated:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Officials with the state Health Department
are concerned that cases of rubella, or German measles, have been
reported in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

There is fear the contagious disease could spread to those who
haven't been adequately immunized. Two cases have been reported in
Roland and additional cases have been confirmed in Fort Smith, Ark.

Rubella is a mild rash illness caused by a virus spread through
the air by an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking. A
slight fever usually lasts about 24 hours and the rash lasts two or
three days.

A record low of 128 cases of rubella was reported in 1995, but
rubella re-emerged in 1997 with an outbreak in North Carolina
primarily among people born outside the United States. The last big
outbreak in the United States was in 1964 with 12.5 million cases
and 20,000 babies born with birth defects.

The Health Department said the greatest danger is to unborn
babies.

All adults born since 1956 who do not have a record of receiving
at least one dose of rubella vaccine and foreign-born adults are
being urged to get the vaccine.

Also, any woman of childbearing age should get the vaccine
unless they have a record of having received at least one dose of
rubella vaccine or have tested positive for rubella, officials
said.

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