Davis County has confirmed 17 cases of measles as of Friday morning, and health officials are expecting confirmation on more.
Mary Meredith, the acting director of the Davis Health Department, said the cases are spread throughout the county, and victims range in age from 11 months to adult."It's everywhere. It's not localized anymore," Meredith said.
The first cases were diagnosed in the north end of the county, but, reflecting today's mobile society, they are now being diagnosed from Bountiful to Sunset.
Meredith said she knows of a few cases in Salt Lake County, but Weber County has not yet had any diagnosed cases. That, she predicted, will change shortly.
"These kids get around. It started here, we can take responsibility for that, but kids today get around, they're everywhere. I expect the other counties will start recording cases soon," she said. The disease has a 14-day incubation period.
Meredith said two cases have been diagnosed in babies, one only 11 months old, and in one adult, but the majority are school-age children.
Under the county's health code, students who are not immunized against measles or who have not filed an immunization record with their school are sent home when a measles case is diagnosed in the school. She estimated more than 150 students have been sent home as of Friday.
"Not all these students lack immunization," according to Meredith. "Some have been immunized, but they haven't brought the immunization record in to school, so they're being held out until they produce it."I expect they'll be looking for it over the weekend and many of them will return to school Monday morning."
Measles is a serious disease, especially among young children, Meredith said.
"People don't realize, especially some of the young parents now who grew up when the disease wasn't very common, just how serious this can be. These kids are really sick," said Meredith.
Complications from measles can include pneumonia, ear infections and encephalitis, she said.
Measles begins with a cough, runny eyes and runny nose, according to the Health Department. In addition, sensitivity to light and white patches in the mouth may be experienced.
A dark red rash follows those symptoms, appearing first on the head and moving down the body in a cluster pattern.
The Health Department recommends any person who received a measles immunization - called an MMR - before 15 months of age be given a booster.
To combat the epidemic, the Health Department is holding extended and special immunization clinics. Hours at the department's Bountiful and Clearfield clinics are extended from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.
And the department is scheduling a special clinic between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday in the nursing division clinic in the basement of the County Courthouse in Farmington.