April 03, 2019

Measles Outbreak: What You Need to Know

Michigan measles outbreak: symptoms of measles, complications of measles, how to get vaccinated against measles and what to do if you've come into contact with someone with measles.
I'm not sure about where you live but where I live in Michigan, we are having a measles outbreak. As of March 26, 2019, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services had 22 confirmed measles cases in the state. According to news articles that I've been reading, that number is actually higher now. As of that day, 21 cases were in Oakland County, MI and 1 case in Wayne County, MI. People with the illness ranged from ages 11-63 years old.

The reasons that I am especially passionate about the topic of measles and vaccines is because of my family. My niece is 11 months old and has not received the measles vaccine yet since it is not given until 12 months old. This puts her at risk when she goes out in public. How awful to have to worry about a disease that should be gone! Also, I am pregnant and due in about 3 months and of course, my baby will not be vaccinated at birth or for the first year from measles (unless recommendations change due to the outbreak) which is scary. We love to get out and if measles is still going around, I am going to be scared to do so.

Measles Outbreak: What You Need to Know

Facts about Measles

-It is highly contagious and is spread through coughing and sneezing by the infected person. If one person has it, 9 out of 10 people will get it if they are not protected by vaccines.
-Children can get measles by being in a room where a person with measles has been and for up to 2 hours after.
-An infected person with measles can spread it before they even know that they have the disease- 4 days before the rash develops and 4 days after.
-About 1 out of 4 people in the U.S. that get measles will need to be hospitalized.
-1 or 2 out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with care.
-The measles vaccine is highly effective but measles is very dangerous to babies too young to be vaccinated as well as those who cannot be vaccinated because of allergies or compromised auto-immune systems.

Why is there a measles outbreak going on in the US?

Since 1994, this is the worst case of a measles outbreak. This outbreak started in New York when people from Israel and Ukraine entered the US bringing the disease here. Nationally, 314 cases of measles have been reported in 15 states, the most in 30 years according to the CDC.

What is so awful about this outbreak is that measles was considered to be nearly eradicated in the US in 2000. It should be gone but since not everyone is vaccinated, the disease is sadly back in our country.

Symptoms of Measles

Measles is spread through direct contact with an ill person and through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms start 7-14 days after exposure and include: high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Some of the first symptoms to watch out for are tiny white spots in the mouth and a blotchy red body rash. If you do get symptoms of measles, you should not visit your doctor or emergency department before calling ahead so that they can take precaution to prevent other people from getting the disease.

Complications from Measles

Complications from measles include pneumonia, swelling of the brain, ear infection with permanent ear loss, pre-term births and low birthweight babies. Obviously, I am vaccinated but as a pregnant woman, the complications that deal with babies especially scare me.

Where could I have come into contact with someone with measles?

Check out this link for the locations in Oakland county that the people with measles visited.

What should I do to avoid measles?

If you are unvaccinated or are not sure if you have been vaccinated, it is being recommended that you get vaccinated. You can contact your doctor or local health department for the vaccine. The measles vaccine is very effective and safe. One dose of the measles vaccine protects 95 percent of children and after 2 doses, almost 100 percent are immune. You cannot get measles from getting the vaccine.

The best protection against measles is the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine which provides long-lasting protection against measles. The first dose is given 12-15 month and the 2nd is given 4-6 years old. It is not currently required to get any booster shots later in life to protect against measles as the vaccine is supposed to have lifelong coverage for most individuals.

What if I have been exposed to measles?

If you are vaccinated, you most likely will be okay. If you are not vaccinated, you may still be able to prevent the disease by getting vaccinated within 72 hours of exposure.

If you have not been vaccinated, please consider getting the measles vaccine to protect you and your family and to help stop the spread of this disease.

Learn more information about the measles outbreak from I Vaccinate or visit the CDC's page.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by I Vaccinate. I am completely honored to be able to get to spread the word about vaccines as part of my job.

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  1. "Since 1994, this is the worst case of a measles outbreak." NO. Wrong. Please correct your misinformation. In 2014, there were 667 cases in the U.S. We are far from that number at the moment. Check the data yourself and please get it correct! https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

  2. "You cannot get measles from getting the vaccine." Again, not entirely correct. There are case studies in which a recently vaccinated child has presented with "vaccine-strain" measles virus. The following article discusses the importance of wild and attenuated versions of the virus during an outbreak. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3381670/
    You may also be interested in learning that an outbreak in NY in 2011 was actually started by a recently vaccinated individual. While rare, it is possible. The case study... https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/58/9/1205/2895266

    Even though this post is sponsored by I Vaccinate, I'm sure you want to be truthful and accurate in your statements so please try to do so. There is lots of unbiased and scientific information you can use in academic journals so I suggest you use that information instead of "propaganda" type sources.


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