What You Need to Know About the Current Measles Outbreak
By Dr. Alex Mones of Riverside Pediatrics
1171 E. Putnam Ave, 2B, Riverside, CT
- This is the worst US outbreak of measles since 1994. There are now 764 confirmed cases across 23 states.
- Measles is highly contagious and can infect up to 90% of people exposed to it that are not immune to the virus.
- The virus spreads through respiratory droplets and can survive in the air for up to 2 hours.
- The measles vaccine is safe, confers near perfect immunity, and does not cause autism.
- Routine vaccination against measles occurs in early childhood with the first dose given at 12-15 months (a single dose is 93% effective at preventing measles) and the second dose at 4-6 years (two doses are 97% effective).
- More than half of US cases are concentrated in the unvaccinated children of Brooklyn and Queens.
- Symptoms begin with high fever, cough, runny nose, and red/watery eyes. 3-5 days later a red flat or raised rash first appears on the face/hairline and spreads downward to the trunk and extremities. A spike in fever typically accompanies rash onset.
- 1 in 4 people who get measles will be hospitalized.
- 1 in every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling that could lead to brain damage.
- 1-2 in every 1,000 people with measles will die despite the best care.
As is usually the case, the best medicine is prevention. Vaccines allow for the safe reduction or
even eradication of potentially life threatening diseases. All patients should be fully vaccinated
for their age and medical conditions.