PETAL, MS (WDAM) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting more than 70 cases of measles in the United States.
The CDC is warning you about measles cases and outbreaks. WDAM spoke to a local pediatrician to gather information you need to know to protect yourself and your children.
According to the CDC, from the beginning of January 2019 until the end of the month, 79 cases of measles were confirmed in 10 different states.
“Including Texas and Georgia closes to us. We did have cases of measles in Mississippi last year, so it’s pertinent to us,” said Dr. Nicole Carden, a Hattiesburg Clinic pediatrician at Children’s Clinic in Petal.
Carden said measles can affect any age group and the viral infection is highly contagious.
“The person who is infected doesn’t even have to be in the room with you anymore for you to contract it," Carden said. "People who are susceptible, up to 90 percent of them, can get it after being exposed to someone with measles.”
Symptoms can begin showing after a period of anywhere between six to 21 days after exposure.
“Really high fever, cough congestion, runny nose, and there can be a rash on the inside of the mouth,” Carden said.
Another symptom to look out for is a rash.
“The thing that makes the measles rash a little more specific to the measles is the way that it progresses," Carden said. "It usually starts on your face, little red bumps that can kind of join together so, these big red patches will move down your neck into your torso, belly and then into your extremities.”
Carden said measles complications can be severe.
“What makes it so frightening is that you can have very bad complications associated with the measles virus," Carden said. "So, just having the measles virus can lower your immunity in fighting other illnesses. The one that kills most children, specific to my area of expertise in pediatrics, in children less than 5 is pneumonia.”
You can also suffer from neurological complications among other severe symptoms.
The biggest takeaway for you is prevention. Get vaccinated. Carden said the vaccine is safe and is 97 percent effective in preventing the illness of measles if you get it or it will make your symptoms far less severe.
Vaccinations are offered at your local pediatrician clinics, family medical clinics and health departments.