Americans are being urged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that they are fully protected against the measles before traveling abroad this summer.
In a health advisory released on Wednesday, the agency urged individuals to ensure that they have received two doses of the MMR vaccine at least two weeks prior to traveling to regions of the world where measles outbreaks are currently ongoing.
The CDC says that those two doses protect against the virus 97% of the time. However, even a brief exposure places an unvaccinated person at extremely high risk of illness.
According to the CDC’s website, a person “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.”
Children should receive their first dose between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and they should receive their second dose between the ages of 4, 5, or 6. The CDC recommends administering two doses at least 28 days apart to adults and teens who have never received the vaccine.
Rising measles cases There is new evidence that the number of measles cases in the United States, which had fallen during the lockdown, is rising again.
In the health alert, the CDC stated that as of June 8, “the United States has seen an increase in measles cases during the first five months of 2023, with 16 reported cases compared to 3 in 2022 during the same period.”
Traveling internationally has been linked to 88 percent of those cases. The majority of patients were unvaccinated.
This week, health officials in Fresno County, California, confirmed two cases of measles from a single household. How the two people became infected was unknown.
Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County’s health officer, stated in a statement to NBC News, “These cases are reminders of the critical role of vaccinations in protecting the community.” We urge all parents to work with their pediatrician or the health department to get their children’s vaccinations up to date.
Two major outbreaks in New York in 2019 resulted in cases reaching levels not seen since 1992: 1,274 cases.
According to the CDC, new outbreaks are also increasingly being reported in other parts of the world, particularly in India, Indonesia, a portion of the Middle East, and much of Africa.
There have been 49 cases of measles in the United Kingdom since the beginning of the year, compared to 54 cases all year last year, according to health officials.
A decline in MMR vaccinations According to the CDC, 95 percent of a community should be vaccinated to prevent measles outbreaks. However, vaccination rates decreased during the pandemic, creating vulnerable areas.
40 million children will miss at least one dose of the measles vaccine in 2021, according to a joint report released in November by the CDC and WHO. According to the groups, the virus poses an “imminent global threat.”
“Several weeks before traveling abroad, regardless of your destination, to see if you or any dependents need MMR vaccine,” the CDC advisory advised.
Measles does not respond to any particular antiviral medication.
According to the CDC, typical symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, and a distinctive rash that appears within the first week of illness.
The most serious complications, including brain swelling and death, can affect infants and young children. If a pregnant woman is infected, the virus can also result in low birth weight and premature birth.