By early February 2015, more than 100 people from 14 states have been reported to have the measles. Most of the cases are part of a large ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.
At this time, no source case for the outbreak has been identified, but it is likely that a traveler who was infected with measles overseas visited the Disney parks in December during their infectious period.
Disney and other theme parks are international attractions, and visitors come from many parts of the world, including locations where measles occurs often.
Also, according to local news sources in Chicago, five infants attending a KinderCare Center have the measles
Measles was almost eliminated in the US in the year 2004 with only 37 reported cases.
What are the signs of the Measles?
Fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis followed by a rash appearing first on the face then spreading to the rest of the body.
Why is Measles so serious?
Measles can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, infection of the brain, and death.
The Measles virus is extremely contagious.
Measles can remain in the air of a room for 2 hours after the contagious person has left the area. People can spread the virus even before they know they are sick. Infected people are contagious from 4 days before their rash starts through 4 days afterwards. Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing.
What can you do to protect yourself and your family from getting the measles?
Check to be sure that you and your family members have received 2 doses of measles vaccine.
As an adult, do I need this vaccine?
You do NOT need the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) if:
• You had blood tests that show you are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella.
• You are a man born before 1957.
• You are a woman born before 1957 who is sure she is not having more children, has already had rubella vaccine, or has had a positive rubella test.
• You already had two doses of MMR or one dose of MMR plus a second dose of measles vaccine.
• You already had one dose of MMR and are not at high risk of measles exposure.
You SHOULD get the measles vaccine if you don’t meet the criteria listed above and
• You are a college student, trade school student, or other student beyond high school.
• You work in a hospital or other medical facility*.
• You travel internationally, or are a passenger on a cruise ship.
• You are a woman of childbearing age.
Before any international travel, infants 6 months through 11 months of age should have at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Children 12 months of age or older should have two doses separated by at least 28 days. Infants who receive a dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should receive 2 more doses of MMR vaccine.
Q: How effective is the measles vaccine?
A: The measles vaccine is very effective. One dose of measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus and two doses is about 97% effective.
Q: Could I still get measles if I am fully vaccinated?
A: Very few people—about three out of 100—who get two doses of measles vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus. Experts aren’t sure why; it could be that their immune systems didn’t respond as well as they should have to the vaccine. But the good news is, fully vaccinated people who get measles are much more likely to have a milder illness, and they are also less likely to spread the disease to other people, including people who can’t get vaccinated because they are too young or have weakened immune systems.
Q: Do I ever need a booster vaccine?
A: No. People who received two doses of measles vaccine as children according to the U.S. vaccination schedule are considered protected for life and do not ever need a booster dose.
Adults need at least one dose of measles vaccine, unless they have evidence of immunity.
Adults who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission, including students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers, should make sure they have had two doses separated by at least 28 days.
Q: Am I protected against measles?
A: You are considered protected from measles if you have written documentation (records) showing at least one of the following:
• You received two doses of measles-containing vaccine
• A laboratory confirmed that you had measles at some point in your life.
• A laboratory confirmed that you are immune to measles.
• You were born before 1957.
Q: What should I do if I’m unsure whether I’m immune to measles?
A: If you’re unsure whether you’re immune to measles, you should first try to find your vaccination records or documentation of measles immunity. If you do not have written documentation of measles immunity, you should get vaccinated with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Another option is to have a doctor test your blood to determine whether you’re immune, but this option is likely to cost more and will take two doctor’s visits. There is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine if you may already be immune to measles (or mumps or rubella).