Measles is a very contagious disease that is spread through coughing and sneezing. It typically starts with high fever and is then followed by cough, runny nose and red eyes. Lastly, a rash develops consisting of small, red spots.
People with measles are contagious 4 days prior to having symptoms until 4 days after rash appears.
Complications include, pneumonia/ respiratory issues, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain,) and even death. Hospitalization is often necessary for kids with measles.
Why is it back?
Measles vaccine was developed in 1963 and prior to the vaccine there was an average of 549,000 cases of measles reported per year in the US, although it is believed that more than 3-4 million people were infected with measles annually, but many cases were not reported to the CDC. Measles was declared eliminated in United States in 2000. However, there are still areas of the world where measles are very prevalent.
Measles was reintroduced into the US by international travelers and was then further spread by unvaccinated persons.
From January 1, 2019 to April 26, 2019, there have been 704 cases of measles that have been reported to the CDC in the US. Most of the cases of measles are in unvaccinated patients.
How to stay protected?
The best way to be protected against measles is with the vaccine! MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination is given to children at age 1 and at age 4. All patients at our practice are required to have this vaccination. This is one way we can help protect our entire community. One vaccination provides 93% immunity and the 2nd vaccine dose increases immunity to 97%.
If traveling internationally with a child who has not received the vaccine, or is too young (<1 year old) to receive vaccine, please call the office to discuss options for vaccination. The vaccine is effective 2-3 weeks after administration, so vaccine should be given in advance of international travel.
Children younger than 6 months of age are not able to receive MMR vaccination. Special care should be taken if traveling internationally.
It is safe to send your children to school and daycare!
The CDC offers the most accurate and up to date information about measles and the current status of the outbreak this year. Please refer to the link for more information and resources.
The AAP also has some helpful information.
If you have any questions at all, please call our office.