2019 Measles Outbreak: What you need to know.

2019 Measles Outbreak: What you need to know.

2019 is a notable year for measles. Measles is an infectious disease. It is caused by a virus and is highly contagious. It spreads from person to person. It was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. However, from January through August 8, 2019, there have been increasing numbers of measles with 1,182 confirmed cases reported within 30 states in the US. The majority of these cases have been among people who were not previously immunized against measles.

Symptoms from measles usually develop 10-12 days after initial exposure to the virus. Measles causes a blotchy red rash. It starts on the head and moves down the body. Other symptoms include:

· Fever (usually a high fever)

· cough

· runny nose

· feeling achy and run down

· tiny white spots inside the mouth

· red eyes and sensitivity to light

· ear infections

· diarrhea

· Measles can cause serious complications including pneumonia, encephalitis and even death. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a rare, but fatal degenerative disease of the central nervous system characterized by behavioral and intellectual deterioration and seizures that can develop 7 to 10 years after measles infection.

People at high risk for complications from measles infection include young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those who are immune compromised (leukemia, HIV infection or taking chemotherapy). There is no treatment for measles, but the MMR vaccine will prevent it.

Path to improved well-being: MMR vaccine recommendations:

The measles vaccine is highly effective. One dose of MMR vaccine is approximately 93% effective at preventing measles; two doses are approximately 97% effective. Almost everyone who does not respond to the measles component of the first dose of MMR vaccine at age 12 months or older will respond to the second dose.


The MMR vaccine is required for children entering kindergarten in the U.S.

The CDC recommends routine childhood immunization for MMR vaccine starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age or at least 28 days following the first dose.

College Students:

Students at post-high school educational institutions without evidence of measles immunity need two doses of MMR vaccine, with the second dose administered no earlier than 28 days after the first dose.


People who are born during or after 1957 who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Evidence of immunity includes 2 documented doses of the MMR vaccine, or a lab test showing immunity.

Adults born prior to 1957, are presumed to be immune due to prior illness, but immunity can be checked with a blood test. If you have measles infection, you are immune for life (you cannot get measles a second time if you have had the infection.)

International travelers:

People 6 months of age or older who will be traveling internationally should be protected against measles. Before traveling internationally,

· Infants 6 through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine (and should then get two more doses as per the routine immunization schedule at 12-15 months and a booster at 4-6 years of age.

· Children 12 months of age or older should have documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine (the first dose of MMR vaccine should be administered at age 12 months or older; the second dose no earlier than 28 days after the first dose)

· Teenagers and adults born during or after 1957 without evidence of immunity against measles should have documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine, with the second dose administered no earlier than 28 days after the first dose

Healthcare personnel

Healthcare personnel should have documented evidence of immunity against measles; those who are not immune should have 2 doses of the MMR vaccine no earlier than 28 days apart.

The CDC provides further information about the measles vaccines including any contra-indications. See VIS at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mmr.html

Pregnant women who need the MMR vaccine should wait until they are no longer pregnant to get the vaccine. Wait a month after getting the vaccine before getting pregnant.

Tell your doctor if you have cancer, HIV/AIDS, or receiving certain treatments before you get the vaccine. This includes treatments such as radiation, immunotherapy, steroids, or chemotherapy. Tell your doctor if you have a household contact with a weakened immune system.

Tell your doctor if you have life-threatening allergies before getting the MMR vaccine.

Tell your doctor if you or your child has tuberculosis, has gotten any other vaccines in the last four weeks, is sick, or had a recent blood transfusion.

Facts about measles:

It can spread through coughs and sneezes.

It can live on humans for up to two hours.

It is highly contagious.

The disease can spread from four days before symptoms appear to four days after the rash appears.

Post exposure prevention with the MMR vaccine within 72 hours of exposure, or Immune globulin within 6 days can prevent measles infection. However, administering immune globulin simultaneously will invalidate the MMR vaccine.

Things to consider

Measles can lead to death. However, it is completely preventable with the MMR vaccine. A third dose of the vaccine may be necessary in heavy outbreak areas.

If you or your child has measles, be sure to:

· See your doctor immediately

· Watch for complications.

· Rest and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

· Use a humidifier to help with a cough.

· Avoid bright light. Measles can cause sensitivity to light.

· Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications.

We, at Urban Family Practice, highly recommend MMR immunization. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about measles infection or prevention.

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