With the announcement of three more cases of measles in Georgia, it’s looking like we’re going to be part of the largest US outbreak since 2000 – one that’s going to get worse before it gets better. Ironically, in 2000 measles had been eliminated from transmission within the US. It’s roaring back now, thanks to the exaggerations, fearmongering, and outright lies of people pushing an antivaccine agenda.
Protection from measles is part of the routine MMR vaccine, given at our practice in two doses at 12 months and 4 years of life. If your child (and yourself!) has had two doses of MMR, measles protection is close to 100%. There are some situations where families may want to get doses early:
- A first dose of MMR can be given as early as six months of life to provide at least temporary protection. This is not being recommended, but if you hear about a measles case in your neighborhood and you’ve got a baby in the 6-11 month age range, consider getting an “early” dose.
- The second dose of MMR vaccine can be given earlier than 4 years — as early as four weeks after the first dose. Families should consider getting this second dose early if they’re traveling to an area with an especially high risk — which includes most of Europe at this time, as well as certain neighborhoods in New York.
The symptoms of measles are fever, rash, cough, red eyes, and runny nose. If you suspect your child has measles DO NOT COME TO OUR OFFICE. A potential measles exposure is unsafe for the young babies and other vulnerable people here. Instead of coming in, CALL US ON THE PHONE, 24/7, and we will help make arrangements for your child to be evaluated safely in a setting that minimizes the risk. Please DO NOT just go to an emergency department or urgent care center – CALL US, and we will help ensure your child gets the right care in the right place.
Measles is a serious infection that can cause long-term problems. It is essential that all of us are properly vaccinated to protect ourselves, our communities, and the people among us who cannot be vaccinated (young babies and people with immune problems.) We can beat measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases back, but we must work together to fight the fearmongers, listen to the real experts & the genuine science, and do the right thing for our children. Vaccinate!