Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. Also called rubeola, measles can be serious and even fatal for small children. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes; starting with a fever, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then, a rash of tiny red spots break out; starting at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Once quite common, measles can now almost always be prevented with the vaccine. While death rates have been falling worldwide as more children receive the measles vaccine, the disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year, most under the age of 5.
The MMR vaccine is known to prevent the disease. The vaccine also protects against t mumps and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of the vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination. In fact, more than 93 percent of people who get the first dose of MMR develop immunity to measles. After the second dose, about 97 percent of people are protected.
Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of these, approximately 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC; of these, 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles. Since then, the widespread use of the MMR vaccine has led to more than a 99% reduction in measle cases compared to the pre-vaccine era. However, measles is still common in other countries. Unvaccinated people continue to get measles while abroad and bring the disease into the United States spreading it to others.
This is PREVENTABLE! If you are not sure if you have been vaccinated, call your doctor TODAY to ask or schedule an appointment!