MEDICAL ALERT: Measles Cases in 2019

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Mega Doctor News

From January 1 to 31, 2019, 79 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 10 states. The states that have reported cases to the CDC are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

As of February 6, 2019, there have been 67 confirmed cases of measles in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn since October. The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring. Since then, there have been additional children from Brooklyn who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel. Children who did not travel were also infected in Brooklyn or Rockland County.

If you plan to travel to Israel, protect yourself and your family against measles and get vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at least two weeks in advance of your trip. If you have traveled to Israel and you have a fever, cough, red eyes, runny nose, and body rash, contact your doctor. You should call your doctor before going to their office to prevent exposing other people to measles.

Measles is a virus that causes fever and a rash. It is highly contagious and anyone who is not vaccinated against the virus can get it at any age.

Although measles is rare in the United States because of high vaccination rates, it is still common in other parts of the world. Measles is common in some countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and is occasionally brought into the UnitedStates by unvaccinated travelers who return with measles infection.

Measles is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs. A person will start being contagious four days before a rash appears. They will stop being contagious four days after the rash appears.

The virus remains active and contagious on surfaces for up to two hours.

Symptoms:

Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. In some cases, symptoms may start as early as 7 daysor as late as 21 days.

Early symptoms include:

Fever;

Cough;

Runny nose; and

Red, watery eyes.

Three to five days after initial symptoms, a rash of red spots appears on the face that then spreads over the entire body.

Anyone can become infected with measles, but the virus is more severe in infants, pregnant women,and people whose immune systems are weak. 

Complications: 

Diarrhea;

Ear infections;

Pneumonia (infection of the lungs);

Encephalitis (swelling of the brain);

Premature birth or low-birth-weight in pregnancy;

Death.

Prevention:

Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles. Anyone who has received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine is highly unlikely to get measles.

MMR Vaccine:

A child should get a measles vaccine on or after their first birthday. The vaccine is combined with mumps and rubella vaccines into one vaccine called MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). A second dose of MMR vaccine is recommended before children enter school at 4 to 6 years of age. Infants ages 6 to 11 months should also receive MMR vaccine before travelling internationally.

Anyone born after January 1, 1957, who has not received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine, or who does not have a blood test proving that they are already immune to measles, should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine.