LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - This is a Guest Editorial from Laurel Pediatric Clinic
The United States is experiencing a new outbreak of measles. There have already been more than 100 cases reported in at least 14 states and Mexico. Measles, though not common to the US due to immunization, is still common in other countries. There has been a resurgence in measles and other preventable diseases in the recent past due to people refusing to vaccinate their children.
Measles is a viral disease which is spread by respiratory droplets. In other words, it is airborne. It can remain in an enclosed area for up to 2 hours after the infected person is gone. It is highly contagious and has an attack rate of up to 90% to a person who is not immune to it. A person can have the measles and be spreading it before they know that they have it. They are contagious for up to 4 days before the rash occurs.
The symptoms of the measles are fever, rash, cough, runny nose, and eye irritation. There can be complications as serious as blindness, brain damage and death..
Measles is a PREVENTABLE disease. We give the MMR vaccination at 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years of age. The vaccine is protective not only to the child that receives it, but also to persons that come in contact with this child that are vulnerable. The most common side effect of the vaccine is fever and sometimes rash. The MMR DOES NOT CAUSE AUTISM as some people have tried to make this link. It is in your best interest to vaccinate your children along the schedule that is recommended by your pediatrician. Do not skip or delay the vaccinations, as it will leave your child vulnerable to the illness. Please vaccinate your child.