After the development of the measles vaccine (the most recommended prevention for the measles) in the 1960’s, the number of confirmed cases of the disease sharply declined. However, in the last decade, doctors have seen an increase in confirmed cases, due to children not being vaccinated.
“Measles is a highly contagious disease that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person.”(CDC)
Symptoms (appearing 7 to 14 days after infection):
- High Fever
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes
Two or three days after symptoms begin:
- Tiny white spots may appear in the mouth
Three to five days after symptoms start:
The measles virus is spread through coughing and sneezing; it can also spread through breathing contaminated air, or by touching an infected surface, then touching the eye, nose or mouth. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air, and on surfaces. An infected person is contagious from four days before, and up to four days after the rash appears. 90% of non-immune people who are close to a person with the measles will also become infected.
The measles virus is most dangerous for children under the age of five, and adults over 20.
- Ear infections (usually in children)
Severe complications (causing hospitalization or even death):
- Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
- In pregnant women, measles can cause premature birth, and/or low-birth weight for the baby
Long-Term, “Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a very rare, but fatal disease of the central nervous system that results from a measles virus infection acquired earlier in life.” It generally develops 7 to 10 years after an infected person seems to have fully recovered. (CDC)
MMR – Protects against measles, mumps and rubella.
MMRV – Includes protection for chicken pox (varicella)
Both vaccines are approved for children 12 months of age through 12 years. The CDC recommends children get a dose of either MMR or MMRV (a doctor can give you advice on which your child needs) between the ages of 12 to 15 months, and then a second dose between the ages of 4 to 6 years.
Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “From January 1 to April 4, 2019, 465 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 19 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.”(CDC)
The graph below shows the number of measles cases reported in the United States each year, from 2010 until April 4, 2019. Note there have already been 465 cases reported the first three months of this year, more than in the entire year 2018.
*Cases as of December 29, 2018. Case count is preliminary and subject to change.
**Cases as of April 4, 2019. Case count is preliminary and subject to change. Data are updated every Monday.
In February of this year, Washington state declared a national emergency, after 60 cases of the measles were reported.
So far in 2019, there have not been any cases reported in South Carolina, but in November of 2018, there were six reported cases, the first reported cases in 20 years.(The State) However, between 2014 and 2018 there has been a sharp increase (by nearly 20,000) in SC students who are unvaccinated. Because of this statistic, “some experts still believe there is a possibility for an outbreak similar to Washington’s,” in South Carolina. (Post and Courier)
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