Since January 1, 2019 almost 700 cases of measles have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most cases have occurred in unimmunized individuals. This is the highest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was declared eliminated in the year 2000. There has been one reported case in Massachusetts so far in the Boston area.
Measles is serious: it causes hearing loss, encephalitis, pneumonia, miscarriage, and can be deadly. Measles is easily spread through the air-- just breathing the air in the same room, or in a public space, within a few hours of an infected person places you and others at high risk for infection: 90% of unvaccinated people become sick.
What you should know
- Measles is a highly contagious virus, and it can be serious.
- 90 percent of people who are not vaccinated against it will contract measles if exposed to it.
- One dose of vaccine is 93 percent effective against measles. Two doses are 97 percent effective.
- The measles virus is spread by respiratory secretions through coughing and sneezing.
- Measles can be spread four days before symptoms appear, and the virus can live in the air and on surfaces for two hours.
How to protect yourself and those around you
- If you have not had two doses of measles vaccine, get vaccinated now.
- In the U.S., measles is usually given as part of the MMR or MMRV vaccine.
- The MMR vaccine immunizes against measles, mumps and rubella.
- The MMRV vaccine immunizes against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella.
- Check your immunization records.
- The vaccine is available for students at the Keefe Health Center by appointment or at retail pharmacies.
- Staff and faculty may seek the vaccine from their physician’s office or at retail pharmacies without an appointment.
- Persons born before 1957 are considered immune to measles.
- If you or your loved ones cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, please contact your physician’s office for advice.