Keep the Measles at Bay:
Vaccinate to Keep Your Summer Vacation Spot-Free!
Summer is a great time to travel with your family, and many Kern County families may be journeying out of the country or hosting international travelers at their homes in the near future. Unfortunately, the Measles virus is making a comeback. Since January 2011, thirteen cases of Measles have been reported in California, with 118 cases reported nationwide. Before you plan your exciting summer adventures, be sure you and your family are vaccinated against the virus, especially if you are planning to explore outside the U.S.
What is it? Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the Measles virus. Symptoms of the disease include a high fever and a red blotchy rash that usually starts at the hairline and face and then spreads downwards towards the rest of the body. Other symptoms may include bloodshot eyes, sore throat, muscle pain, and light sensitivity. Complications of the infection can include pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infection and, in serious cases, encephalitis, which is an acute inflammation of the brain.
Why is it back? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared Measles as eliminated in the U.S. back in 2000, but the high volume of international travel among U.S. residents and exposure to foreign visitors has put U.S. residents who are not vaccinated against Measles at risk. Out of the 118 reported cases of Measles this year, 105 of those cases occurred in individuals who had not received the immunization.
What vaccine do I need? Remember this: people who do not have the Measles vaccine almost always get Measles because it is one of the most contagious diseases known. However, most adults have already received the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) as children. Two doses of the vaccine are necessary for protection: the first dose should be given at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose should be given between ages four and six. If you are an adult, have not been immunized, and were born after 1957, you should talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated.
What if I think I have it? If you or a member of your family is experiencing Measles symptoms, DO NOT go to your doctor’s office, hospital, or public Health clinic. Because of the high risk of infecting others, you should call your Healthcare provider first to reduce the risk of transmission.
Because Measles is a virus, there is no specific treatment, but most doctors recommend rest, hydration, and fever reducers.
For more information about Measles, contact the Kern County Public Health Services department at 321-3000 or visit us at Health