Measles: What you should know

AL Dept. of Public Health has announced one confirmed case of measles in an infant less than a year old

Are you protected against measles?

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is urging people who aren’t vaccinated to get their measles shots immediately, now that they have determined the virus has been confirmed in the state.

The ADPH says a person with the disease likely exposed others during two stops in Alabama on April 11.

So are you protected? Is your child?

The most recent numbers show that just under 93% of children in school, are up to date on vaccines.

Student Immunization Forms:

  • Up to date – 92.83%
  • Expired forms - 5.33%
  • No forms on record - 1.15%
  • Religious or Medical Exemptions* - 0.73%

(*Includes full and partial exemptions)

(Source: Alabama Department of Public Health/2017-2018 School Year)

“I am concerned however because the anti-vaccine movement has been expanding, and there are more and more people who are getting the wrong advice frankly,” said Wilson.

Those are the people who Wilson says are most likely to get this highly contagious disease.

"Put another way if you have 10 people in a room, who are exposed to the measles virus and have not been vaccinated, 9 out of 10 are going to get infected,” Wilson said.

So what should you do if you have symptoms?

Dr. Stephen Russell with UAB says it’s best to phone first.

"If you suspect you may have it, you need to call your doctor to talk about the next steps. Because it’s so contagious we don’t want other people to be infected,” said Russell.

Early Symptoms:

(Appear 7 to 14 days after a person is infected)

  • High fever, up to 105 degrees F
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red or watery eyes

After a few days the symptoms can worsen and lead to other illness. In some rare cases, people can die.

Getting Vaccinated:

"Everyone over one year of age should have received at least one measles vaccination, and by the time people get to kindergarten they should have received two measles vaccinations,” said Russell.

If there is ever any doubt about whether or not you’re up to date on your measles vaccine, it’s best to consult with your doctor and possibly even get another shot.

"And there are some cases where children and young adults have actually received a third measles vaccination because of that uncertainty about their vaccine history,” said Russell.

“It won’t do any harm to get more than the usual recommended number of vaccines,” said Wilson.

Wilson adds anyone born before 1957 likely has a natural immunity, and maybe even people leading up to the vaccine’s development in 1963.

However, Wilson says people should be cautious.

“I would say that people born in the 1960′s might want to think about getting another vaccine, if they are in an outbreak situation or travelling to an area that is, just to be on the safe side,” said Wilson.

Wilson also adds that measles vaccinations are some of the most effective vaccines available.

"That’s very good protection. 97% protection, and even those 3% that might not be completely protected are going to be less sick, than those that have not been vaccinated,” said Wilson.

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