The U.S. is experiencing it’s second-highest number of measles cases in two decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already confirmed cases of this highly contagious measles virus in Texas, and it is likely the disease will continue to spread among the unvaccinated.
MMR vaccine will help protect your entire community
Everyone’s best defense is getting the MMR vaccine, which effectively protects against measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. Two doses of the MMR vaccine provide 97% protection from measles.
Kelsey-Seybold physicians, in agreement with the CDC, recommend children get a single dose of the vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age, and their second dose between 4 and 6 years of age. Older children, teens, and adults born after 1957, who haven’t been vaccinated against measles, need two doses of the vaccine administered at least 28 days apart. However, should the outbreak worsen, recommendations may change to shorten the interval between doses for young children.
The shot is not recommended during pregnancy.
How measles is spread and symptoms to be aware of
Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even talks to someone in close contact. Infected droplets can stay in the air or land on a surface. Be advised: The measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours.
Symptoms usually appear between 10 and 14 days after exposure and include fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes, and the tell-tale rash on the face, then spreading down the body. During the first days after infection as the virus incubates, there may be no noticeable symptoms; unaware contagious individuals can spread the virus for about four days.
By Melanie Mouzoon, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.B.M.
Kelsey-Seybold managing physician for immunization practices