ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. – An Allegan County mother is concerned for her daughter’s welfare after doctors told her Monday night that her 15-month-old may have measles. While Allegan County Health Department officials said this is unlikely, they said measles is a possibility as they investigate this case.
Sunday morning, Brianna Overweg told FOX 17 her daughter woke up with what she thought was a cold: a runny nose, cough, and little spots on her face.
“Then throughout the night, (my daughter) just kept tossing and turning and she was screaming; it was almost like she was in pain,” said Overweg.
By Monday evening, her daughter had a 102-degree fever and a raised rash that spread from her head down her body.
“It spread even more: it was on her tummy, her neck, started to go down to her legs, and it was raised,” said Overweg. “I called Helen DeVos on-call, and they said what I was describing was a 911 emergency.”
Monday night in the emergency room, Overweg said doctors told her that her daughter had measles.
“After that doctor came in they confirmed that it’s definitely a virus and it’s definitely measles on top of it,” said Overweg. “I started freaking out, I kind of broke down, started crying, almost, sorry, almost crying again because I heard so many horror stories about it and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, my kid is next.’”
However, Medical Director of Allegan County Health Department Dr. Richard Tooker is skeptical. He said the department is investigating this case.
“It could be measles; it certainly is something that needs to be ruled out,” said Dr. Tooker. “Right now it doesn’t make sense to us that this is a true measles case, because this individual does not have any known or suspected exposure to anybody with measles or anybody likely to have measles.”
Since Monday night, doctors sent Overweg and her baby home to be quarantined, and told her to keep her daughter hydrated, and then watch for any signs of pneumonia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “measles is the most deadly of all childhood rash or fever illnesses.” Based on CDC recommendation, children and some adults should be vaccinated with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine with a total of two doses: first at 12 to 15 months, and then at least four weeks later.
Overweg asks parents to vaccinate their children and themselves. She told FOX 17 that her daughter missed her measles vaccination at 12 months due to a family emergency, but she plans to vaccinate her daughter as soon as she can.
“Definitely get the vaccine, I wish I would have gotten it for her because I wouldn’t be dealing with it now,” said Overweg.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tooker warns that coming into contact with vaccinated people is only the way to protect infants too young to be vaccinated.
“Very, very young infants and children are the individuals who are highly likely to be seriously ill, and possibly die, from an infection like measles or pertussis/whooping cough,” said Dr. Tooker.
Wednesday Overweg is scheduled to bring her daughter in for blood work to re-assess and further determine if she has measles.
Stay with FOX 17 for developments in this case.