Are You and Your Family Safe from the Largest Measles Outbreak this Decade?

Child with rash on his chest from measles
Child with rash on his chest from measles

Some comebacks, like the perm, are fun but the measles? Not so much. In 2000 the United States declares we were free of measles. Then, in 2014, there was a large outbreak, with 667 reported cases. The reported cases this year have now surpassed the highest number on record this decade with 681 reported cases, according to CNN.  

The largest outbreak of this highly contagious disease began this year in New York City, where 329 cases have been confirmed, virtually all of them in Brooklyn. A child returning from a trip to Israel brought the illness back and it spread through the unvaccinated members of the Orthodox Jewish community. 

The states that now have reported cases to the CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.

Back during the 2014 outbreak, The Doctors discussed what this disease looks like. If you are unvaccinated there is a 90% chance of catching the measles just by simply being in the room with someone who has the virus. The measles virus is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs and someone nearby inhales the infected droplets. It can also be transmitted by direct contact with fluids from an infected person.


Most adults born before 1957 actually had the measles and are immune, and if you vaccinated, vaccinations have proven very successful; most of the people who have gotten sick were not vaccinated against measles. The MMR vaccine is long-lasting and the CDC considers those who have had two doses of it as children to be protected for life. A booster shot is not needed.

According to the CDC, very few people, about 3 out of 100, who have been vaccinated will still get measles if exposed to the virus. The good news is, if you are fully vaccinated and contract the measles, the illness will likely be milder. Those who are fully vaccinated and protected include school-age children and adults who have received two doses of measles-containing vaccines (MMR) and are in a setting that poses a high risk. If you are a preschool-aged child or an adult in a non-high-risk setting for measles transmission, you are safe with one dose of a measles-containing vaccine. If you are unsure if you are immune, check your vaccination records. 

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The measles typically begins with a high fever, a cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis. Two or three days after tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth and three to five days after a rash will break out. The rash usually starts on the face and head and then spreads to the neck. This disease can progress to pneumonia, encephalitis and even death. The best thing to do to protect your child is to get them vaccinated. If you are exposed to someone with the disease an unvaccinated, you can still get the MMR vaccine

If you're at all concerned about whether or not you need a measles vaccine, please check with your doctor who can test your blood for you immunity or administer a booster. There is no specific treatment for the measles but if you or a loved one contracts the virus, click here to see what can be done.

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