By: LT Whitney Moseley, RN
In 2000, just 19 years ago, the U.S. had completely eliminated the measles because of high immunization rates throughout the country.
Recently, from the rise of overseas travel and the increase of unvaccinated children within the U.S., more and more pockets, known as “hot spots,” are spreading the measles throughout the country. From January through June 2019, there have been six measles outbreaks and over 1,077 individual cases across 28 states, including Oklahoma.
Measles is an airborne virus that can remain in an indoor room for up to two hours after the contagious person has left. Just one person infected with the measles can spread the virus to unvaccinated people.
Normally, symptoms do not show until ten to 14 days after you have been exposed to the measles. Symptoms often begin with nonspecific signs, including, a cough, runny nose, sore throat, red eyes and fever within the first few days. As the infection progresses over the next few weeks, you could potentially spike a fever, commonly around 104-105 degrees Fahrenheit, and have small red spotted rashes that normally begins on the face and progresses from head to toe.
To protect you or your child from catching the measles virus, make sure you both are up-to-date with immunizations. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one dose of measles vaccine is about 93 percent effective at preventing measles and two doses are about 97 percent effective. The measles vaccine is offered as one of your child’s routine immunizations in a combination vaccine.
The vaccine includes overall protection against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella. To consider your child protected from the virus, the Oklahoma State Department of Health recommends two doses of a measles-containing vaccine after their first birthday.
For more information on measles and other vaccines, please visit www.cdc.gov or call (405) 948-4900 ext. 316.