An Unfortunate Comeback: The Measles
In 2000, the measles virus was seemingly eliminated from the United States. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case, and there have been more than 700 cases reported in 22 states so far in 2019 alone, with many of those cases being in children under 5 years of age.
Those born before 1957 likely have immunity, but for those healthy individuals who don't or do not have evidence of immunity, vaccination is needed. Here's what you need to know:
The Measles & Vaccination Schedules:
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children receive routine vaccines, starting at age 12 through 15 months and the second dose at age 4 through 6 years before entering school. This is a combination vaccine that provides protection against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
Before any international travel, you also need to get vaccinated. Teenagers and adults with no evidence of immunity (documentation of previous vaccinations, lab evidence, or born before 1957) need two doses separated by at least 28 days.
If you are unsure if you were vaccinated as a child or if you're immune to measles, speak with your doctor about your records. If necessary, you may need to get another dose of the MMR vaccine.
The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads quickly, such as through coughing and sneezing. In fact, the CDC states that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people around that person will also become infected if they are not protected against it. Measles can be serious and can even lead to death. If you think you have been infected, talk with your health care provider right away to be tested and start treatment.
While the outbreak in the U.S. is new, measles is still very common in other countries. If unvaccinated and traveling abroad, you can bring the disease back to the states and spread it to others. Children are at the highest risk of being infected, which is why it's so important to be vaccinated.
Please be sure to speak with a Gatti pharmacist for any questions or concerns about the measles virus and vaccination.