Sarasota County, FL health officials are reporting four children in the county have been diagnosed with measles.

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According to the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, the children have “close contact to each other” and none of them were vaccinated against the disease.

“We will continue to investigate,” DOH-Sarasota Health Officer Chuck Henry said, “but we would like families to know that their children could be exposed to diseases like measles anywhere and — unless they’re protected with vaccination — they are risking potentially serious health effects for their child. We encourage all parents to fully vaccinate their children to protect them from diseases like measles.”

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that is spread by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people.  People first develop a fever, then may have a cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by appearance of a rash.  People are considered infectious from four days before to four days after the appearance of the rash.

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