US measles outbreak raises questions about immunity in adults
00:09, May 1, 2019
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As a result, when unvaccinated travelers get measles overseas and return to the United States, especially to close-knit communities with low vaccination rates, these communities are "at risk of sustained measles outbreaks", the CDC report said.
And with the disease once more in the spotlight, people have questions about who should be vaccinated aside from young children. There have been 202 confirmed cases of measles in the suburban county north of New York City.
The measles virus is highly contagious and can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage or death. US public health officials have blamed the current outbreak in part on rising rates of vaccine skepticism that have reduced measles immunity in certain communities.
"Families are being targeted with inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines", said Nancy Messonnier, head of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
She said the easiest way to prevent measles is to vaccinate. Officials said they are especially concerned with a community in Monmouth County, where official believe an infected person may have exposed multiple people over the course of a few days.
Rapid blood tests are available that can detect whether a person is immune based on the level of measles antibodies, but the tests are not 100 percent reliable.
Now the question is whether or not people should be getting a booster shot or not.
Early this month, NY mayor Bill de Blasio issued a state of emergency in-an-effort to block the spread of measles in New York borrows. California passed a similar law tightening its requirements in 2015 after a measles outbreak that spread at Disneyland.
People vaccinated in the United States since 1989 would most likely have received two doses of the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot under federal guidelines, and that is still considered the standard for protection. It took less than a week for that to happen, showing the pace in which the disease is spreading.
According to the CDC, recent outbreaks are caused by unvaccinated USA tourists that visit a country that has people suffering with the measles.
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Who needs to be vaccinated?
If your vaccination record shows you received the measles vaccine between 1963 and 1967, you may want to talk to your doctor about a MMR booster shot.
The two doses of the MMR vaccine are mandatory for children.
"After just one dose of MMR vaccine about 95 per cent of people will be protected from measles, and 99 per cent of people who have had both MMR doses will be protected from measles".
Anyone who does not know their vaccine status should speak to their health care provider.
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