you need to know about the disease:
— What is
a nationally notifiable infectious disease in 1912, when it
was significantly common, according to the Atlanta-based
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highly
contagious disease, also called rubeola, is caused by a virus
spread in the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. Though
it can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine, and
global death rates attributed to measles are declining, the
disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year.
groups are most at risk?
children under age 5 are the most common victims of measles
and its potentially fatal complications, along with
unvaccinated pregnant women. Generally, anyone who has not
been vaccinated is at risk. According to the CDC, 90 percent
of people exposed to measles who have not been vaccinated will
probably get it.
As for the most
at-risk regions, developing countries in parts of Africa and
Asia where health infrastructures are relatively weak continue
to face measles outbreaks. The disease is also still common in
parts of Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific.
— What about
the United States?
As a result of
high vaccination in the U.S., measles isn’t commonly
widespread and is typically a result of international travel.
But according to the Mayo Clinic, the average number of annual
cases has jumped from 60 between 2000 and 2010 to 205 per year
in recent years.
— What are
the typical symptoms of measles?
the CDC, the following symptoms appear one to two weeks after
begin, tiny white Koplik spots may appear inside the mouth
before a measles rash breaks out. This rash, which looks like
small, red bumps joined together, can spread from the hairline
to the rest of the body, spiking an infected individual’s
fever to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
— How to
against measles, ensure you are fully vaccinated. Other steps
in prevention include washing your hands often; covering your
mouth and nose when sneezing; using hand sanitizer with at
least 60 percent alcohol; avoid touching your eyes, nose or
mouth and refrain from kissing, hugging or sharing utensils
with anyone who is sick.
— The measles
measles vaccine was developed, an estimated 3 million to 4
million people in the U.S. were infected each year, according
to the CDC. Compared to the pre-vaccine era, the vaccine has
led to a greater than 99 percent reduction in cases. In 2000,
measles was declared eliminated from the U.S.
The work of
scientists John Enders, Thomas C. Peebles, Maurice Hilleman,
and others resulted in the Edmonston-Enders strain vaccine,
which has been the only measles vaccine used in the country
since 1968. This vaccine is typically combined with mumps and
rubella (MMR) or a mixture of mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV),
the latter of which is only licensed for use in children 12
months through 12 years of age. The MMR vaccine protects
against measles, mumps and rubella, whereas the MMRV vaccine
adds varicella (or chickenpox) protection.
Just one dose
of measles vaccine is about 93 percent effective at preventing
measles. Two doses are about 97 percent effective.
recommend children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, first
at 12 to 15 months of age and again between ages 4 to 6. All
teens and adults should also be up to date on vaccinations.
Check CDC.gov to learn if you’re one of the exceptions and
should hold off on getting a measles vaccine.
— If you
think you have measles …
doctor immediately. If you’re up to date on your records,
you may be immune to the disease. But if you have measles,
your doctor will probably recommend staying home for a few
days after you see a measles rash coming in.
about measles at cdc.gov.