Published: Thu, May 02, 2019
Medical | By Mark Scott

Blood test shows if you're immune to measles

Blood test shows if you're immune to measles

The disease has spread quickly among unvaccinated children.

Federal officials have reported 704 measles cases so far in the USA since January 1, the most since 1994, which saw 963 cases during the whole year.

And in even places like New York City and Brooklyn where they've actually fined people for not getting vaccinated and going into public closed places - that's really somewhat of a draconian thing to do, but sometimes it's necessary because what we're seeing now is we're seeing the beginning of what could be something that could get out of control as you get more outbreaks. That's because the initial version was a "killed" vaccine, or one using an inert version of the virus, Schaffner says. People with fever, runny noses, rash and cough travelling to the country bring in the infection that affects unvaccinated populations, they explain.

But outbreaks have surfaced throughout the country over the past few months, affecting more than 700 people.

If your vaccination record shows you received the measles vaccine between 1963 and 1967, you may want to talk to your doctor about a MMR booster shot.

Esper said the MMR vaccine is so effective that someone who is not vaccinated can get the vaccine up to a day or so after measles exposure, and that will prevent measles from taking root. In 1912, according to the CDC, "measles became a nationally notifiable disease in the United States, requiring US healthcare providers and laboratories to report all diagnosed cases". Severe cases of measles can result in complications including encephalitis or pneumonia. "You never know what's out there, so it's good to know hopefully the parents are taking care of their kids, and getting their kids immunized", said Almond.

Nearly 97% of Pennsylvania kindergartners in public and private schools had two doses of the MMR vaccine during the 2017-18 school year.

For every 1,000 children who get the disease, the CDC estimates one or two will die from it. Measles can also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or have a low-birth-weight baby.

Officials say measles is still common in parts of the world, including the Philippines which just this year has had 12,000 cases and 200 deaths. So far, Madagascar has reported 118,000 measles cases, 1,700 of them fatal.

The disease was declared eliminated in the 2000 thanks to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, which meant there were no longer sustained outbreaks.

Anyone born before 1957 is considered protected because they likely had measles or were exposed to measles. The recommended two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is 97 percent effective in a given person in preventing measles. Officials said that in addition to two outbreaks that have been linked to patients with worldwide travel, there have been 28 other outbreak-associated cases. Should adults get revaccinated?

People born from the time the vaccine came out in the 1960s until 1989, when guidance on the vaccine changed, may have only had a single dose of the MMR vaccine.

The United States is in the midst of the largest outbreak of measles in decades.

Experts say overall vaccination rates of 90 to 95% are needed to provide "herd immunity", which helps keep outbreaks at bay and protect babies who are too young to be vaccinated and others who can't get the vaccine for medical reasons.

Though New Jersey hasn't been hit almost as hard as New York City and Rockland County, New York, where hundreds have been infected, experts remain concerned if we fail to limit the disease's spread.

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