(RxWiki News) In 2000, health officials declared that measles had been eliminated. But that may no longer be the case in 2019.
Between Jan. 1 and July 25 of this year, 1,164 measles cases were reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s the highest number of cases reported in the US since 1992.
States affected by measles so far this year include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.
Measles is still quite common in certain parts of the world. People traveling from these areas can bring measles to the US.
And it’s highly contagious. The virus can easily be spread to others through coughing and sneezing. This is partly because the virus can live for up to two hours where the infected person coughed or sneezed.
To get measles, all you have to do is touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. You can also get it by breathing contaminated air.
If one person is infected with measles, 90 percent of the unvaccinated individuals near that person will also get measles, according to the CDC.
The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you and your loved ones are vaccinated. One dose of the vaccination is 93 percent effective against measles. Two doses are 97 percent effective.
The measles vaccination is also referred to as the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. Typically, the first dose of the vaccine is given between 12 and 15 months of age. A second dose is given between the ages of 4 and 6. In certain cases, the vaccination schedule may be slightly different.
If you are not sure whether you have received this vaccine in the past, speak with your health care provider, who can help determine the next step for you.
Written by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS