971 cases of measles have been reported in the United States this year as per the CDC. The year now has the greatest number of cases in a single year in nearly three decades. The number of cases in 1994 was 963, which was lower than in 1992 when there were 2,237 cases. Cases have been reported in 26 states this year so far.
Measles was officially eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning it was no longer continuously transmitted in the country.
Before widespread use of the highly effective measles vaccine, around 30-40 lakh people got measles each year in the US with 400 to 500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations.
Today in India around 27 lakh children get measles.
· Measles is preventable but also is highly contagious.
· The attack rate in a susceptible individual exposed to measles is 90%.
· The period of contagiousness is estimated to be from 5 days before the appearance of rash to 4 days afterward.
· Infectious droplets from the respiratory secretions of a patient with measles can remain airborne for up to 2 hours. Therefore, the illness may be transmitted in public spaces, even in the absence of person-to-person contact.
· During the first few weeks after contracting measles, a child’s immune system becomes weakened, and a normal cold or diarrhea can become a life-threatening illness.
· Vaccines are safe, they do not cause autism. In communities with 95% or more of residents who are vaccinated against the virus, herd immunity works. That's when unvaccinated people are protected because so many of those around them are.
· At 9 months and then again at 18 months every child needs to get the MR vaccine.
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India