Recently we have all heard a lot about measles outbreaks around the country and heard growing concerns in the office. As a practice, we believe in the importance of getting our children vaccinated against these life threatening childhood illnesses. Children get vaccinated against measles through the MMR vaccine at 1 year of life and get a booster at 4-6 years of age. With one dose you are 93% protected and after 2 doses you are 97% protected.
What are the symptoms of measles?
Measles symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, fatigue and red eyes. They then get a classic rash that starts on the face and spreads down the body. In addition they have spots in their mouth called “Koplik spots.”
What makes measles so contagious?
The virus is spread through droplets, essentially when the person with measles coughs or sneezes. If exposed, you may not know for 7-21 days prior to the start of symptoms as this is the “incubation period”.
What are some complications from measles?
Most children with measles recover without any complications, but there are children who suffer from very severe complications. This data was obtained from the CDC website:
- 1/1000 children develop acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) leading to permanent brain damage
- 1-2/1000 children die from respiratory and neurologic complications
- Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis is a degenerative disease that occurs 7-10 years after measles infection that leads to seizures and progressive behavioral and intellectual deterioration
Where can I get more information?
Pictures and information from this post was obtained from the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/index.html.
If you have any further questions or have concerns regarding a possible exposure to measles please give us a call at Weissbluth Pediatrics at 1-312-202-0300.