"Today, the overwhelming majority of parents choose to protect their children with vaccines", said HHS Secretary Alex Azar during an April 29 press telebriefing.(www.cdc.gov) "However, we are very concerned about the recent troubling rise in cases of measles, which was declared eliminated from our country in 2000".
Andrew Pavia, chief of the division of pediatric infectious disease at University of Utah Health, said he's often asked, "What's the big deal?" about measles because it's just "a childhood disease".
The Indiana State Department of Health issued an order Wednesday which allows pharmacies and pharmacists to give people the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. One of the three was an adult.
Colorado is last in the country when it comes to measles vaccination rates for kindergartners at 88.7%.
While county health officials are calling the cases an outbreak, the Center for Disease Control has not yet made an official determination. The illness typically begins with cold-like symptoms, such as a low fever, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis, or pink eye.
"In response to the measles outbreak that has occurred this year, Merck has taken steps to increase USA supply of our MMR-II vaccine so availability of the vaccine is maintained", the company said in an emailed statement today.
Measles is so contagious that 90 percent of unvaccinated people who come in contact with an infected person will get the virus. Public notices are often posted asking people if they had visited certain places at certain times the afflicted person visited.
"We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations".
The best way to prevent a measles infection is vaccination. Many Indiana adults may not be aware of their vaccination status or may have received a single dose of inactive virus, which does not provide the full protection.
The Centers for Disease Control said the recent cases- centered on outbreaks in California and NY - started with unvaccinated people who traveled out of the country and then brought the disease back to the U.S. After two doses, more than 99 per cent of people are protected.
"When measles is imported into a community with a highly vaccinated population, outbreaks either don't happen or are small", she explained. The CDC recommends two doses of MMR vaccine for children, the first at age 12 to 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years.
People traveling internationally should receive their vaccines at least two weeks before departure, but even if their trip is less than two weeks away, they should still get a vaccine dose.
Anyone born before 1957 is considered immune to measles because nearly all individuals born prior to that year likely had measles.