Measles was all but eliminated in the United States. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that 2011 was the worst year for the infection in 15 years.
According to the CDC, there were 222 cases of measles last year, which is more than triple the number of cases in 2009 and 2010. Dr. Vicki Whitacre of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department said she’s unaware of any measles cases in our area, but those who travel overseas are at a much higher risk of becoming infected.
"You need to have at least two MMRs, which are for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines before you travel anywhere," said Whitacre. "The cases are still very low in the United States, but they’re in the thousands in Europe, Africa and other continents. You want to be protected, particularly if you’re an adult. To get the measles is very hard on you."
Whitacre said the disease is highly contagious and can be fatal, so it’s crucial for children to receive vaccinations and prevent measles from spreading in schools.
"It’s probably more younger children and teenagers who are in families with religious beliefs that they shouldn’t have immunizations, and parents have some fears of immunizations due to what they read on the internet, a lot of which is not the actual truth," said Whitacre.
The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is recommended for all children ages 12 to 15 months with a booster shot at age 4 to 6 years. Adults should be vaccinated if they did not receive the vaccine when they were younger.