LAKE MARY, Fla. — Health officials in Florida are monitoring a measles outbreak that initially was localized to Broward County but now has spread to Polk County, raising concern about potential transmission.

What You Need To Know

  • Health officials have confirmed a case in Polk County and the infected person is between the age of 20-24 years old

  • That brings the total to 10 cases in Florida, the highest in the country

  • When contracted measles can take up to 21 days to start developing symptoms

There are now 10 cases in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health's disease surveillance system, Merlin.

The case count is the highest in the country.

Health officials say the case in Polk County involves a person between the ages of 20-24 years old, and is the first adult infection in the state this year.

Pediatrician Erynne Bowers of Physicians’ Associates & Orlando Health in Lake Mary fields a lot of parent’s concerns about their kids. 

Many have been asking about measles.

“I think people are now getting concerned because once there was the case in Polk County, I think people are more aware of it,” said Bowers.

She said the most common symptoms of measles are fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat and inflamed eyes. Bowers said measles is highly contagious and often goes unnoticed for long periods of time.

“So, when you and I are exposed to measles, it can take up to 21 days to start developing symptoms. So that’s a long period between when you’re exposed and when you can develop symptoms,” said Bowers.

Medical experts say anyone at any age can get measles, but children under one, never vaccinated, are especially susceptible. 

Measles can lead to ear infections, pneumonia or worse.

“And then the big thing we worry about is there is called encephalitis, which is an inflammation and infection of the brain. And so that’s what we really worry about with measles,” said Bowers.

According to the CDC, in the year 2000, U.S. health officials declared the end of the disease’s endemic spread, eliminated by decades of vaccination campaigns. 

Bowers recommends the vaccine to anyone concerned about measles and protecting themselves or their children.

“Usually, we vaccinate with the MMR vaccine, which is measles, mumps, rubella at ages 12 to 15 months, and then they get a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age,” said Bowers.