- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota Department of Health officials say the number of measles cases in the state is up to 13.

State epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger said nine of the cases involve people who live in the Mitchell area and four are people from out of state.

Measles is a highly contagious airborne viral disease transmitted from one person to another by direct contact or droplet spread. It can cause permanent brain damage or even death.

The state’s last reported case of the measles before the recent outbreak was 1997.

Kightlinger says the best protection against the disease is the measles vaccine.

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