cases would triple if there were a 5 percent decline in
measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine coverage in the U.S.
for children ages 2 to 11, according to a study published in
as physicians have very successfully reduced what used to be 4
million cases of measles a year in the U.S. down to so few
that a recent outbreak that numbered about 86 in Minnesota
this year sticks out like a strange anomaly in the 21st
century," says Dr. Robert Jacobson, a Mayo Clinic
pediatrician not involved with the study. "In fact, the
reason that that epidemic was not thousands, or tens of
thousands or worse, was because so many of us are so
is a highly contagious viral illness that can almost always be
prevented with a vaccine.
MMR vaccine was developed in the 1960s and tested in tens of
thousands of children to provide immunity against measles
disease, mumps, and German measles a highly effective
vaccine that gives lifelong immunity, and it does a very nice
job of really making these diseases so rare that most parents
have never seen a case of any one of the three," says
vaccine, says Jacobson, has dramatically reduced deaths and
importantly, it has reduced hospitalization and complications
from measles and mumps, and a very special complication from
German measles," he says. "While German measles
itself seems like a very mild form of measles, when it infects
a pregnant woman, whos never been exposed to either the
vaccine or the disease, it will more often than not cause
congenital rubella syndrome. This can lead to the blindness,
deafness, and cognitive impairment of that child and, frankly,
depending on the time of the pregnancy of when the German
measles hit, can even cause a child to have autism."
decade prior to the availability of the vaccine, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states nearly all
children developed measles by age 15. An estimated 3 to 4
million people in the U.S. were infected each year, and an
estimated 400 to 500 people died each year from measles.
of measles can include:
the most common complications of measles is a bacterial ear
Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup
may lead to inflammation of your voice box (larynx) or
inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air
passageways of your lungs (bronchial tubes).
is a common complication of measles. People with compromised
immune systems can develop an especially dangerous variety of
pneumonia that is sometimes fatal.
in 1,000 people with measles develops encephalitis, an
inflammation of the brain that may cause vomiting,
convulsions, and, rarely, coma or death. Encephalitis can
closely follow measles, or it can occur months later.
pregnant, you need to take special care to avoid measles,
because the disease can cause pregnancy loss, preterm labor or
low birth weight.
platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
can lead to a decrease in platelets the type of blood
cells that are essential for blood clotting.