With the Measles Spreading, Make Sure Your Family is Protected

Unfortunately, thanks to false information spread by the anti-vaccination movement, many parents across the United States have chosen not to provide their children with the protections they need against vaccine-preventable diseases such as the measles.

Although these parents feel not vaccinating is a personal parenting choice, it is a medical decision that has a greater impact outside of their immediate family. As we have explained in the past, herd immunity only works when a majority of the population is vaccinated and diseases like the measles are unable to spread. If you choose not to vaccinate your child, you could be contributing to a growing illness that can be fatal.

Think this is an overreaction? The US is currently experiencing a large multi-state measles outbreak, all traced back to Disneyland — and the metro area has the potential for the measles to spread, since our vaccination rate falls below the national standard.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s measles outbreak.

2014-2015 Measles Outbreak

Once Eradicated, Now on the Rise

Measles was officially declared eliminated in the US back in 2000. Although the disease isn’t native to the United States any longer, international travelers (like those who visit Disneyland!) can bring it back to our borders — and as the anti-vaccination movement has gained a foothold, the number of measles cases has increased.

In 2011, there were more than 200 cases in the US; in 2014, the number rose to an alarming 644, per the CDC.

As of February 2, the current measles outbreak involves 102 people in 14 states, and the number is only expected to go up.

Fast-Spreading, High-RiskMeasles Outbreak

With a reproduction rate (also known as an R-number) of 12 to 18 people for every person infected, the measles has spread even despite the United State’s vaccination rate of 90%.

The measles is nothing to scoff at, either: in addition to symptoms like fever, runny nose, cough, watery eyes, and rash, it can lead to serious complications, including:

  • Pneumonia: the leading cause of measles deaths among young children, affecting 1 in every 20 children with measles
  • Encephalitis: swelling of the brain that can lead to deafness or mental retardation; affects 1 in 1000 children who get measles
  • Premature birth: in pregnant women, measles can cause pre-term labor or low birth weight
  • Death: 1 in 5000 people who get measles will die from it; the likelihood is higher among children, with 1-2 deaths per 1000 children who have measles. Worldwide, 300 people die from the measles every day.

Protect Yourself Against the Measles

If you received a measles vaccination in the past, you might think you’re safe from the current outbreak. While it’s true that the majority of those affected in the current outbreak have not been vaccinated, unfortunately, 5 fully-vaccinated people have contracted measles thus far, and 1 person with only one measles shot has gotten the disease.

In fact, among those who have only received one dose of the measles vaccine, there’s a 5% chance of vaccine failure, compared to less than 1% among those who have had both doses.

Since it wasn’t until 1989 that federal guidelines called for a second dose of measles vaccine (following a landmark measles outbreak, with 55,000 sick and 120 dead nationwide), many people immunized in the 60s, 70s, and 80s may have only received one dose. This means that older adults already more prone to serious measles complications may be even more at-risk.

What can you do to better protect yourself against the measles? First, if you’re not sure that you’ve received both of the recommended doses of the measles vaccine, head to ARCpoint Labs of Overland Park (or one of our other KC metro locations) to get your titers test today. One quick blood draw can identify if your body has the necessary immunity to fight off the measles. We’re even offering 15% off the test so you can verify your immunity.

MMR Titers

If it turns out you do need your measles vaccine, we can also administer that on-site, no doctor’s orders or appointment needed.

To learn more about protecting yourself against the measles with ARCpoint Labs of Overland Park, call us today at (913) 815-0988.

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