February 6, 2019 4:57 pm
With the Recent Measles outbreak going on it’s important to understand how dangerous an infection this is, why we are now seeing outbreaks and what you can do to protect yourself.
Measles is a highly infectious respiratory virus that is spread by cough and sneezing, in fact it is so infectious that 9 out of 10 people who are exposed to the virus and not immunized will get it. The virus can live on its own on surfaces for up to two hours. You start spreading the infection up to 4 days before you even have symptoms. Symptoms of measles are fairly similar to the flu with high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Two to three days after these symptoms you may get tiny white spots inside the mouth called koplik spots. Then three to five days after the initial symptoms, the red-spotted rash characteristic of measles breaks out, and the fever spikes. The rash and fever usually subside within a few days. Unfortunately measles has a high risk of complications. Out of 1000 patients who get Measles up to 3 of them will get a severe pneumonia, swelling in the brain called encephalitis and even death. Unfortunately the younger the patient is, the higher risk they are of complications The worst part about measles is that there is no treatment. The only way we have of tackling this is through vaccination. But the best news about measles is that by appropriate vaccination, it is up to 99 percent effective in preventing it. That is why in the year 2000 the CDC was able to declare it eradicated from the United States. Unfortunately right about that time is when a lot of the myths and misinformation started regarding vaccines and their safety. Original study suggesting link between MMR vaccine and Autism were found to be fraudulent. Since that time there have been multiple very good, highly scientific studies with thousands and thousands of participants which not only have shown no link with the MMR vaccine and autism but they’ve actually seen the opposite. Several have shown a trend to lower rates of autism for those who have had the vaccine So let’s talk about some practical issues regarding the immunization and talk through some of the common concerns.
Thoughts on Measles Vaccine
- Many worry that immunization contains harmful chemicals like thimerosal: Studies haven’t shown any risk of harm but they have been removed from childhood immunizations anyway.
- We get immunized to protect our self as well as others: Children under one, Immunocompromised such as HIV and Cancer and Pregnant women cannot get the vaccine and are especially at risk. We get immunized to protect them.
- No evidence that waiting till older is safer in getting vaccines. It actually puts them at greater risk.
- Vaccines due to their success have made the concern for these diseases less in the general public. We need to remember why we started getting the vaccine in the first place!
- Unimmunized patients put health care facilities at a significant risk not only of spreading the virus to others who are at risk but also causing false concerns and delays at facilities due to isolation protocols
Categorised in: Monthly Features