The Measles Outbreak: What You Should Know

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We thought it was gone.

Measles, the vaccine-preventable disease that caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year before a vaccine was introduced, was declared eradicated in the US in 2000 following more than thirty years of widespread immunization.

Sadly, it’s back.

As of the middle of May 2019, more than 900 individual cases were confirmed across 26 states in the US.

How did the Measles Outbreak Happen?

The current outbreak is linked to travelers who returned to the US from countries where large measles outbreaks were occurring, mainly Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines.

According to Dr. Art Reingold, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of California Berkeley’s School of Public Health, “this outbreak has been driven by decreased measles vaccination rates, which have made more people susceptible to contracting the disease. The primary problem is under immunization and resultant pockets of susceptibility to measles. Communities in which many parents decline to vaccinate their children will invariably see transmission of measles … once the virus is introduced by someone traveling to or returning to the community from an area where measles virus is circulating.”

Health experts have confirmed that the virus spread quickly among school-age children who were not vaccinated.  

Facts About Measles

  • Measles is one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases.
  • Measles can remain in the air for two hours after the infected person leaves the area.
  • Nine out of ten susceptible individuals exposed to someone with measles will develop the disease.
  • 30% of people with measles will develop complications.
  • One in 1000 children who contract measles will die from neurological or respiratory complications.

Facts About MMR

  • The MMR vaccine does not cause autism.
  • The first dose of MMR vaccine is 93% effective.
  • The second dose of MMR vaccine is 97% effective.
  • Individuals born prior to 1957 are considered immune to the disease.
  • Individuals born between 1963 and 1967 may have received inactivated vaccine and should receive an additional MMR shot.

*Above facts are statistics published by the Indiana Department of Health

How to Prevent the Spread of Measles

  1. Check your health records or with your HealthCare Provider to make sure that you are fully vaccinated.
  2. Vaccinate your children.

For information about what you can do to help fight measles in your community and protect the Hoosier Herd, contact us today!

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