You may have read the headlines recently: measles is making a comeback and are now a significant public health risk for children across the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the 555 cases of measles (and counting) during 2019 is the highest number since the disease was virtually eradicated in 2000. Why have measles cases suddenly ballooned in the United States?
2019 has seen measles cases continue to increase in the United States because of key risk factors, according to the CDC:
- A growing number of people are not vaccinating their children because of misinformation regarding the safety of vaccines. Some people falsely believe autism and vaccines are linked, which has resulted in many parents forgoing vaccines for their children.
- Measles is still present in other parts of the world including Europe, Asia, and Africa.
- Travelers coming into the United States can bring the disease into the United States. When combined with several groups of unvaccinated people, the disease can spread.
So what can you do to protect your children from measles? How should you address some of the key risks for getting measles?
Get your child a measles vaccine if they don’t have one already
Vaccines are the best way to protect your child against the measles virus. A measles vaccine, usually the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella), helps a child during early childhood to build immunity to multiple diseases like measles.
Additionally, vaccines are highly safe and are not linked with autism. Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading autism awareness organization, highlights all the risk factors of autism including:
- Genetic risk factors
- Advanced pregnancy age
- Frequent pregnancies (less than one year apart)
Autism Speaks also emphasizes that vaccines are in no way linked to autism in young children. Make sure you always consult your primary care provider to double check any potential misinformation about vaccines online.
Stay up-to-date on new measles cases and avoid areas with outbreaks
Currently, there have been reported measles cases in multiple states and reported outbreaks in the U.S. It is important to understand that a reported case indicates the disease may potentially infect a community while and outbreak suggests the disease is spreading rapidly in a certain area.
Reported measles outbreaks were reported in Maryland, New York City, Washington state, Rockland County (NY), New Jersey, Butte County (CA), and Michigan. However, states that have at least a reported case include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Texas.
Keep your children (and elderly adults or anyone else with weakened immune systems!) safe by following local and national news outlets that report the CDC’s findings. Try to avoid traveling to areas with measles exposure when possible. Check your immune titers since sometimes immunity can wear off, unfortunately.
If you believe you or your children need an updated measles vaccination, do not hesitate to visit Synergy Immediate Care for fast and convenient vaccination services. Call us at 703-942-5331 or schedule an appointment online to keep your children measles-free!