The Measles Vaccine: Why it’s Still Important

Measles seems like a disease of the past but in the last seven years, there has been an average of 226 cases per year. Even though the CDC declared measles to be eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, sporadic cases still appear because infected people bring it to the United States and infect unvaccinated citizens.

Measles on the Loose

The 2018 Outbreak So Far

The Kansas City metro area has had 15 cases of measles reported since January 1, 2018, with the majority of cases coming from Johnson County. This measles outbreak is the largest Kansas City has seen since 1990, surpassing the measles outbreak of 2014. Officials were able to trace the source of the outbreak to an infant at a Johnson County daycare; the baby was too young to be vaccinated and picked up the virus while traveling in Asia.

Children are Vulnerable

Like that infant, almost all of the 15 measles victims are children who were too small to be vaccinated. The CDC recommends that children get their first measles vaccine dose between 12 and 15 months, and the second dose between 4-6 years. Every state, including the D.C. area, mandates that children about to start public school to be up-to-date on their MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine.

There are only two ways parents can opt for their children not to be vaccinated: either for medical or religious reasons. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment released a report stating that more parents are opting out of vaccinating their children. The main medical concern now is that non-immunization will reduce the effectiveness of herd immunity. The spread of disease becomes harder to control as the number of vaccinated people is reduced.

Stay Safe with the Facts

Widespread use of the MMR vaccine has resulted in greater than 99% fewer measles cases compared to before the measles vaccination. The U.S. had 3 to 4 million cases per year prior to the measles vaccine. Thankfully, this year’s measles outbreak is not routine due to widespread vaccination. The best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community is to get the MMR vaccine and vaccinate your children. If you have been traveling abroad, get tested before you spend time around any child that has not yet received the MMR vaccine. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Test Smartly Labs provides testing for individuals, as well as screening for more major health risks.

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