Ensure children are vaccinated against measles
I would like to share the following with our parents . From AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) News :
CDC: Ensure children are vaccinated against measles
by Melissa Jenco · News Content Editor
Pediatricians should make sure patients are up to date on their measles vaccines in light of a multi-state outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Experts also recommend educating parents about the dangers of the respiratory disease.
"You get very very sick with measles and you can die, and you don't know who the person is going to be that happens to have a very severe case," said Jane F. Seward, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., FAAP, deputy director of the Division of Viral Diseases for the CDC, and a CDC liaison to the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases.
The recent outbreak, which was linked to Disneyland in California, started in December and has spread to Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nebraska, Arizona and Mexico, the CDC said in a Jan. 23 health advisory. It has produced 51 confirmed measles cases in the U.S. and one in Mexico through Jan. 21.
Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 due to a successful vaccination program. However, it is still common in other countries and may be brought into the U.S. by travelers. Last year there were 644 cases reported in 27 states, according to the CDC.
Experts say the disease is highly contagious.
"We have enough pockets of unvaccinated people that we're at risk for sizable outbreaks of measles," Dr. Seward said.
She said the vaccine is both effective and safe with a very low occurrence of serious complications.
Those who catch measles are at risk of seizures, pneumonia, hearing loss, vomiting, diarrhea, brain infection, eye problems and even death, according to Dr. Seward.
The CDC and the Academy recommended children receive the first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12-15 months and the second dose at 4-6 years. Infants between six months and 11 months should receive a dose if they are going to be traveling abroad.
Dr. Seward said the standard two doses are more than 95 percent effective and children who have had them do not need a booster.
Doctors also should be on the lookout for possible measles cases, she said. Initially, patients typically experience a fever and upper respiratory symptoms like cough, runny nose and watery eyes. Several days after the onset of symptoms a rash forms on the face and spreads downward over the whole body, according to Dr. Seward.
Those who are infected are considered contagious four days before and after the rash appears. The virus also is contagious in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours.
Dr. Seward suggested pediatricians advise families they don't need to be exposed to someone tied to the Disneyland outbreak to be at risk.
"You never know when you might come across somebody that's come back from overseas," she said. "You may pass them in the supermarket, you may pass them in the airport and not even know who it was, who exposed you."