All Points Medical Waste Blog
The Measles Outbreak
Are you at risk?
As of this writing, there have been more than 800 people diagnosed with measles in the United States. A disease that was eradicated in the year 2000, measles is highly contagious and presents a potentially serious risk to those who contract it. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of measles cases in the United States has continued to skyrocket with 23 states reporting outbreaks. Although it’s preventable through vaccination, measles continues to spread—here’s what’s happening and what you need to know.
How did the outbreak happen?
Because measles is still a common disease in other countries, it’s likely that someone who was visiting the U.S. unknowingly brought it in with them. In other cases, a citizen of the United States traveled to another country and got infected while there.
In all cases, the only people who can contract the disease are those who haven’t been vaccinated. In all 50 states, measles vaccinations are required before a child can enter kindergarten. However, there are also exemptions in place which allow parents to opt out of the vaccination, either for religious, philosophical or other reasons. The experts say that this outbreak is occurring in communities where there are a large number of people who were not vaccinated.
How is it spread & what are the symptoms?
Measles is caused by the rubeola virus and it spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is highly contagious and can infect everyone in a room at the same time. The CDC states that a person with measles can infect others before even knowing they have the disease and the risk of infection can be high even hours after the person has left an area. Because the well-known rash associated with measles doesn’t occur until 3-5 days after the other symptoms, it is often too late to prevent exposure to others. Here are the symptoms:
- High fever
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes
Protecting yourself and your family from measles
Measles can cause serious health problems to certain people, including pregnant women, very young infants, those with compromised immune systems and those over the age of 20.
Some of the complications of the disease include bacterial pneumonia, respiratory tract infections, ear and eye infections, difficulty breathing and febrile seizures.
The best way to protect yourself and your family is to vaccinate your children. If you haven’t been vaccinated, speak to your doctor.
Adults do not require vaccination if the following applies:
- You were born or lived in the U.S. before 1957
- You have received two MMR shots after you were 12-months old
- You had one MMR vaccine plus a second dose of measles vaccine
- You are found to be immune to measles, mumps, and rubella after a blood test
Those who should not be vaccinated include:
- Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon
- People with a serious allergy to gelatin or neomycin, an antibiotic
A resurgence of a disease like measles can be very alarming and a cause for concern to those who struggle with health conditions. Parents can easily protect their children by adhering to the vaccination guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
For more about health, please visit our blog. All Points Medical Waste is dedicated to providing you with the most relevant information about medical issues affecting communities. We’re a family-owned and operated business that provides full-service medical waste disposal to hospitals, clinics, veterinarians, treatment centers, funeral homes, surgery centers, and many other healthcare facilities across the Treasure Coast and within Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties. Get in touch with us today to find out more about what we do.