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July 28, 2021 01:06pm
By Jill Murphy, Associate Editor
Measles outbreaks are on the rise globally, and it is considered a public health crisis.
Measles outbreaks are on the rise globally, and it is considered a public health crisis. In the United States, there were 349 confirmed measles cases in 26 states and the District of Columbia in 2018, which is the second largest number since measles was eliminated in the US in 2000.1
Measles is still common in some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. The rise in outbreaks is most likely due to an increase in the amount of travelers infected with measles and unvaccinated individuals in the US, who are spreading the disease.1New York has seen one of the largest measles outbreaks in decades, which is primarily occurring among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities.1,2The outbreaks were associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel, where a large outbreak is occurring.2The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has also issued a recent warning regarding an individual infected with measles that visited various locations.3
Measles is an acute viral respiratory illness with symptoms that include high fever, cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis. Two to 3 days after the symptoms begin, tiny white spots known as Koplik spots may appear inside the mouth, which is followed by a characteristic maculopapular rash that spreads from the head to the lower extremities.4Complications include pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. Individuals are contagious from 4 days before to 4 days after the rash appears.4Measles is highly contagious, and 90% of unvaccinated individuals that come in contact with an infected person on a plane will contract the disease.4
Vaccinationwith the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization is the best way to prevent measles.4The CDC recommends a 2-dose series with the first at age 12-15 months, and the second dose at age 4-6 years or at least 28 days after the first dose.4One dose is about 93% effective at preventing measles, and 2 doses are approximately 97% effective.4