10 Facts You Need to Know About the Measles Outbreak
The Seriousness of the Current Outbreak
According to the Centers for Disease Control, before the live measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, the average number of cases per year was 549,000. After the one-shot vaccine was introduced, the number of measles cases dropped significantly. There was a resurgence of the disease from 1989 to 1991, during which 55,000 people were affected. Although most were unvaccinated, some people with the vaccine also got the disease, leading the medical community to recommend the two dose regimen. Since that regimen was introduced, measles cases have been dramatically reduced, leading the U.S. to declare in 2000 that endemic measles were "eliminated."
In other words, if your child is vaccinated, you do not need to be concerned. Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, says, "This is not a problem with the measles vaccine not working. This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used."
Measles Is Highly Contagious
Measles Is Serious
Measles Is Hard to Diagnose Early
You Can Still Contract Measles Even if You Don't Travel Internationally
The Vaccine Is Effective
Infants between 6 and 11 months should receive one dose of the MMR vaccine if they will be traveling internationally. This dose does not count toward the routine series.
The Vaccine Is Safe
More serious side effects, such as high fever and seizures, are very rare and occur in about 1 in 3,000 people who get the shot.
The Vaccine Does Not Cause Autism
Visit the CDC's "Learn the Signs, Act Early" website to learn more about childhood development, and talk to your child's doctor if you have any concerns.
The Vaccine Protects Even After Exposure
Very Young Babies Are Protected
It's important to know that while the antibodies offer some protection, they aren't fail-proof. Educate yourself on how much protection the antibodies offer, and for how long, to ensure your baby's safety.