Most families these days aren’t even remotely aware of what the measles virus is capable of, because for so many years now people have been vaccinated for it. What exactly is the measles? It’s a viral disease that can attack anyone within close reach by someone infected; it produces a fever, runny nose, red eyes, and the popular rash everyone familiarizes with measles. It can literally attack the patient from head to toe pretty viciously too; kids start with a fever then hours later can develop a horrible rash and conjunctivitis making their eyes watery, red, and itchy. It can be classified as similar to the chicken pox, but thought of as worse by those who have unfortunately suffered from both ailments.
Why is the measles news all of a sudden? For a few reasons, the measles became obsolete for the most part in the United States in 2000, according to the history of vaccines featured which detailed reports can be found here. Back in 1971 the MMR; or measles, mumps, and rubella combination vaccine was invented specifically to eliminate these massive diseases. Parents would flock to their pediatrician’s offices with their children to get them the booster shots in hopes that they would never suffer from such ailments. As the years went by, less and less children developed the viruses encouraging the public belief in the vaccination process.
How the USA is possibly going backwards in this outbreak and having cases pop up? There are two theories as to why the epidemic is growing; one is because over time there are parents that opt to not vaccinate their children for their own reasons, and the second is because Americans travel abroad and often bring back viruses. A recent case in Pierre, South Dakota as has identified a young child has a confirmed case of measles and is not vaccinated. The state reported it is its first knowledge of a confirmed patient with the virus in seventeen years.
In addition to the case in South Dakota, the trend is growing way too fast nationwide. ABC News provided an update here that alerts the public there have been a confirmed total of 610 measles cases just in 2014 alone. This number is astounding considering there have not been that many cases since the disease was claimed as eliminated over a decade ago. Experts are concluding a lot of the cases have derived from Americans traveling to the Philippines where the disease is thriving, then back to the states.
Doctors always advise the best method of prevention is to get vaccinated, but also to make yourself very familiar with diseases that may be circulating in countries you plan to visit. While you cannot fix the ailments in those countries, you can stop it from infecting you, your family, coworkers, and town you reside in by not traveling there. Measles can not only ruin your work week, or a few weeks if a child becomes infected, but it can most importantly lead to death. Take the illness very seriously, and speak with your medical team about prevention and vaccination if you have not been given the shot yet.