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Michigan’s fifth measles case found in Detroit. Others potentially exposed

stethoscope on white background. selective focus
Michigan has reported five cases of measles this year — the first since 2019, when the state had 46 cases as part of a national outbreak. (Shutterstock)
  • Health officials warn that a 4-year-old child with measles sought care in three different health care settings in Detroit, possibly exposing others to the highly contagious virus.
  • More than 100 cases have been reported across the country so far this year.
  • More than half of those infected people were hospitalized — either for illness or to keep others from being exposed.

A four-year-old Detroit child has contracted measles — the fifth known case in Michigan this year as the virus continues to circulate throughout the country.

Three Michigan counties now have reported at least one case of measles this year — the first cases since 2019. Oakland County reported the first case in February, an infection authorities at the time said may have been linked to international travel.


Officials with the Detroit Health Department Wednesday warned the public of possible exposure to the highly contagious virus in three three healthcare locations.


Suspended in tiny aerosol droplets, the measles virus can live for up to two hours in the air where the infected person is present.

On April 1 and 3, the child later diagnosed with measles was taken to three Detroit locations for care:

  • Acadian Urgent Care, 2117 Springwells, noon to 3 p.m. April 1
  • Rite Health Pharmacy, 5851 West Vernor, 1:45 to 4 p.m., April 1
  • Children’s Hospital of Michigan Emergency Room, Beaubien Blvd., 5 to 10 a.m. April 3

Anyone who was at these locations at those times and who experiences symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.  After exposure, symptoms usually begin within seven to 14 days, but can appear up to 21 days later. 

Symptoms include:

  • High fever that may spike to more than 104 degrees
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Tiny white spots on the inner cheeks, gums and roof of the mouth,
  • A red, raised, blotchy rash that usually starts on the face

Patients or parents of a child with these symptoms should call ahead to a medical establishment so staff can make sure others are not exposed.

The Detroit child’s infection appears to be a single isolated case and the family has isolated, Dr. Claudia Richardson, the city health department’s medical director, told Bridge.

 Dr. Claudia Richardson headshot
Vaccination remains the best way to stop the spread of the highly contagious measles virus, said Dr. Claudia Richardson, medical director at Detroit Health Department. (Courtesy photo)

It was not immediately clear where the child was exposed, and the child had not recently traveled out of state or the country, she said.

The virus was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning that it was not constantly present. But in 2019, nearly 1,300 cases of measles were reported in 31 states — the greatest number since 1992. In Michigan, 46 cases were reported by the end of that year.

As of Thursday, 113 measles cases have been reported in 17 states so far in 2024, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

While the overall number is low, the virus is highly contagious. Without immunity, about 9 in 10 people who are exposed to the virus will also be infected. Among unvaccinated people, about 1 in 5 who get measles will be hospitalized, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Disease.

That worries health officials who have watched childhood vaccination rates drop since the start of the pandemic.


When it comes to the three exposure points last week in Detroit, Richardson noted that “most people are vaccinated. There are some that are not (vaccinated), but most are, so that is the good news in this scenario.”

Immunity to the virus is built with the vaccine known as the MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. A first dose is routinely given at about 12 months of age, and the second when a child is about 4 years old.

Statewide, vaccine coverage for both doses for children between 4 and 6 years old dropped from 89.4% in 2017 to 84% in 2022, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Adults born before 1957 or those who have evidence of prior measles illness also are considered immune. 

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