• Health Awareness Series: April 2019 - Measles Cases Continue to Rise: What You Need to Know

    Date: 4/24/2019 03:09:01 PM

    Before the measles vaccine, measles killed 400-500 Americans a year.  Another 4,000 suffered a brain injury from the measles.  It is a bad disease.  Since most people in the United States are vaccinated against measles, measles doesn’t occur here often.  However, there are still many places in the world that don’t have enough measles vaccine, and measles kills about 90,000 people every year.  Travelers have brought measles back to the United States.  There are places in the United States where measles vaccine is less common, and children and adults in those places get measles. 

    Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles starts with fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of new measles cases in the United States rose in April, bringing the total number to 555 in 2019. This year’s outbreak could be the worst since measles was eliminated as an endemic disease in 2000.

    New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio declared a public health emergency in April in communities in Williamsburg, requiring unvaccinated individuals to receive the vaccine or face a fine (The New York Times, Monday, April 15, 2019).

    Measles can be prevented with the MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. The CDC recommends children get two doses of the MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at four through six years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.

    The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.

    Click on the link below to learn more about the MMR Vaccine. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/conversations/downloads/vacsafe-mmr-color-office.pdf

    According to the CDC, just over 8,000 more people have received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine so far this year compared with last year, including 1,000 more vaccinations in Williamsburg and Borough Park from March to April.


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