Measles, Mumps, Rubella, oh my!
Start writing a post
Health Wellness

The Revival of Measles: What That Means for You

We eliminated measles in the U.S. in 2000. Well, somebody should tell the measles. Because even though the virus has no permanent home stateside, it keeps getting in—more and more, it seems.

89
The Revival of Measles: What That Means for You
https://pixabay.com/en/medical-record-health-patient-form-781422/

One of the greatest public health achievements in history, vaccines are credited for the massive decline of potentially dangerous diseases like measles and polio. Although the majority of families embrace vaccination, a growing number appear to be delaying or forgoing vaccines altogether due to a misunderstanding of the safety, effectiveness, and necessity of vaccination.

If you were born in the U.S. after about 1968, you've lived your entire life with virtually no interaction with the measles. Consider yourself lucky. The virus causes fevers over 104°F, inflamed eyes, a cough, plus a rash that begins as tiny white spots and becomes an itchy red mass spreading outward from the head to cover your entire body. And that's just your basic measles encounter. About 30 percent of measles patients get extra complications, including diarrhea, pneumonia, brain inflammation, and permanent blindness. In healthy areas, few people died of the disease—only about 0.3 percent—but in impoverished or malnourished populations that figure jumps up to around 30 percent.

We've kind of forgotten what it's like to live in a world where young children regularly get serious diseases. It's difficult to notice an absence of deaths, so here's some perspective: from 2000-2012, the measles vaccine saved about 13.8 million lives. If we continue the way we're going, though, we might get a different perspective. From 1989-1991, measles saw a huge comeback because people weren't getting vaccinated enough—and we may not be too far from that happening all over again.

Measles isn't the only vaccine-preventable disease seeing a resurgence. Cases of pertussis and mumps have also been on the rise, and while vaccine refusal is certainly a factor, there's another culprit potentially at play: insufficient or waning immunity.



Many of the individuals involved in recent outbreaks of mumps and pertussis have been at least partially vaccinated. Does that mean that the vaccine doesn't work? Not exactly.

Pertussis and mumps vaccines are about 80 percent effective when they're first given. As time goes on, however, research suggests that that immunity wanes, and more doses might be needed to protect against outbreaks.

You probably assume that if you got the measles shot as a kid (it's now combined with mumps, rubella, and sometimes varicella to make the MMR or MMRV vaccine), you're immune to measles. Period. Surprise! You might not be. The measles vaccine is pretty amazing—with the recommended two doses, it prevents 97% of cases, and with just one dose it still covers you 93 percent of the time. But it's also possible to lose your immunity over time, or for the vaccine to have simply not given you a strong enough protection in the first place. In that study of 970 measles cases, 40 percent were in people who had gotten the shot. Getting a vaccine doesn't always mean you're immune, so if you're at all anxious talk to your doctor about getting a test called a titer, where they check your blood for antibodies against the measles vaccine to make sure it worked. And really, you should get the titer no matter what, because you never know.

The rates are higher for adults right now, but if kids aren't getting vaccinated young it's likely that future adult populations won't be so resistant to measles. And in the meantime, we're exposing people who actually can't get the vaccine to a potentially deadly virus. Kids and adults who are immunocompromised aren't allowed to get vaccinated, and those people are also the most susceptible to contracting a deadly case of measles. So if you don't want to get the vaccine for you, do it for your frail grandfather or your infant niece. Heck, do it for that kid sitting next you on the train who could up and die from a disease that might not even phase you. Yes, the vaccine might not work—but uncertain immunity is way better than certain susceptibility.

So follow Nike's advice: just do it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.

213514

Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

366064

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1765962

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1119653
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

996637
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

655309
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments