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Measles Cases Spotlight Importance of Vaccines

 

measlesMeasles Cases Spotlight Importance of Vaccines

A third case of measles has been confirmed in CT this year and, with outbreaks in other areas of the US, the disease is making its way onto the morning news programs.  At risk are those under the age of 1 year (when children are scheduled to receive their first dose), those who have declined or delayed vaccination and those who are unable to receive the vaccine due to medical conditions and/or compromised immune systems.

Vaccination against measles has been so successful that most parents, their parents and health care providers have never seen a case.  Measles is highly contagious.  An infected person is considered contagious four days before the onset of the rash until four days after.  Face to face contact is not required, simply being in the same airspace as an infected person within 2 hours leads to a very high rate of infection in those who have not been immunized.  Symptoms include rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation and fever, and can rarely include pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.

A British study from 1998 which raised the possibility of a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism has been discredited and a number of studies have examined this possible link and none has ever been found.

The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine beginning at 12 months, with the second dose between 4 and 6 years old.

Vaccines definitely prevent diseases and save lives.  It’s important to follow the schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Always contact your child’s pediatrician with any questions or concerns.

Susan Quigley RN, BSN, NCSN