In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that measles cases had reached a record high since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000,
urging parents to get their children vaccinated. Just this year, there have been cases of measles confirmed in 22 states.
You may be hearing a lot about measles lately and all of this news on TV, social media, Internet, newspapers and magazines may leave you wondering what you need to know about this disease. Parents thought the childhood disease was gone for good by getting vaccinated as a child—Wrong. Because of the amount of unvaccinated people in the US and other countries, the Measles are BACK! The CDC has put together a list of the most important facts about measles.
Top 4 Things You Need to Know about Measles
1. Measles can be serious.
Some people think of measles as just a little rash and fever that clears up in a few days, but measles can cause serious health complications, such as pneumonia or brain swelling, especially in children younger than 5 years of age.
2. Measles are very contagious.
Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected. A child can get measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even up to two hours after that person has left. An infected person can spread measles to others even before knowing he/she has the disease—from four days before developing the measles rash to four days afterward.
3. You can still get measles in United States.
Measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 thanks to a highly effective vaccination program. Eliminated means that the disease is no longer constantly present in this country. However, measles is still common in many parts of the world, including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Worldwide, 19 cases of measles per 1 million persons are reported each year and 89,780 people, mostly children, die from the disease. Even if your family does not travel internationally, you could come into contact with measles anywhere in your community. Every year, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers (Americans or foreign visitors) who get measles while they are in other countries. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk.
The best protection against measles is measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. MMR vaccine provides long-lasting protection against all strains of measles. Your child needs two doses of MMR vaccine for best protection:
- The first dose at 12 through 15 months of age
- The second dose 4 through 6 years of age
- Stop in or make an appointment at any local CVS MinuteClinic. Present your Medical ID card at check-in.
- Stop in to any in-network Caremark pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Kroger, Mariano's, or Rite Aid and present your TeamCare Benefits ID card with the CVS/Caremark logo.
- Schedule an appointment with your in-network Primary Care Doctor or Pediatrician and give them your Medical ID Card at check-in.