“What you need to know about Measles”
In light of the continued measles outbreak we felt it was important to inform you of the facts.
What is Measles?
Measles is a known virus that historically has caused serious illness that can permanently affect any organ of the body and sometimes result in death. Worldwide it is a serious illness however was controlled for years due to vaccination, the United States was considered “measles free” in 2000. This is the largest outbreak we have seen since then and the concern is that so many are now affected due to the lack of vaccinations.
How does Measles present?
There can be an average of 10-12 days after exposure before you show signs or symptoms of measles. The symptoms include high fevers for typically 2-3 days with red eyes, cough then a red rash develops beginning head to toe with occasional white spots in the mouth. A person is contagious 4 days before their symptoms begin and 4 days after the illness. It is a very contagious airborne virus for example, if a person with measles coughs or sneezes in a room, the virus can exist for up to 2 hours in that room.
What is the Measles Vaccine and when is it given?
The measles vaccine has been available since 1963, in the form of MMR. It is given at 12 months (which gives about 95% protection) then a booster vaccine at 4 years old (which gives an additional 4% protection prior to school). This means that children under the age of 1 cannot be vaccinated. People who are immune compromised also cannot receive the vaccine and therefore are also at risk. If an unvaccinated person is exposed to the virus there is approximately 90% chance of getting measles. If you are unsure of your vaccination status, blood titers can be drawn to check if you are immune. Adults who were born after 1957 who did not have measles or the vaccine should also be vaccinated.
Due to the fact that no vaccine is 100% protective, a community is only safest if all are vaccinated within it.
We believe in keeping our community strong and healthy, discuss vaccinations with your physician, protect your family and your community!