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Measles Epidemic on the Horizon?

It’s official the CDC has confirmed a measles milestone. In a statement released on Wednesday, April 24th, the agency said that as of 3 p.m., it counted 695 cases of the illness this year. We’ve surpassed the highest number on record since the disease was declared eliminated nationwide in 2000. Previously, the highest number of reported cases since elimination was 667 in 2014.

The states reporting measles cases are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

The outbreak is affecting virtually every conceivable space where people eat, work, study and play! Some employers are even exploring the legalities of requiring that workers get the vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) or prove their immunity from the illness. More than 200 students and staff at L.A. universities are quarantined and some states, like New York and Washington, have declared public health related states of emergency due to the outbreak of this highly contagious disease.

Contributing Factor Unvaccinated Communities?

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, if someone comes into direct contact, or touches the same objects or surfaces that the infected person has touched.  The disease can live for up to two hours on surfaces!

Most cases in the United States have emerged in communities with low rates of vaccination against the virus, according to public health officials.

One official is quoted as saying, “Outbreaks of measles occur when measles gets into these communities of unvaccinated people – the only way to protect against measles is to get vaccinated.”

The CDC has also noted that some outbreaks are linked to travelers who were infected and brought measles back from other countries, including Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines.

The CDC referenced the ongoing outbreak in New York on Wednesday stating, “The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States.”

In contrast to antivaxxers, many who believe the vaccine causes autism and poses other high risks, experts recommend that children receive the vaccine in two doses: first between 12 months and 15 months of age and a second between 4- and 6-years-old.

The CDC does admit that as with any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions, but these are usually mild and go away on their own. There is a “remote chance” of side effects and even serious injuries but the benefits outweigh the risks.

Better to Be Safe: Testing for Measles

It’s a simple blood test for MMR Meter Testing, and in just 3 – 5 business days, Any Lab Test Now can let you know your status.  According to the CDC, if one person is infected, 90% of the people who are not immune around them will become infected – it’s so easy to be proactive and safe.

Measles Symptoms

  • The measles causes symptoms that include a fever, cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis, and a rash that begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
  • The virus can lead to pneumonia, croup, diarrhea or swelling of the brain (encephalitis) which could cause seizures and brain damage.
  • Symptoms generally appear 7 to 14 days after a person has been infected.
  • A person with the measles is contagious 4 days before the rash appears, and up to 4 days after the rash appears. Because of this long quarantine period, those who believe their rash is “almost gone” perceive they are not contagious and may integrate back into their community, exposing others.

A measles infection in pregnant women can be passed from the mother to the baby and could cause premature birth or spontaneous abortions.  While this is rare in areas where early childhood vaccination is practiced, it is important to know that living in communities with high concentrations of unvaccinated individuals poses some risk.

Contact an Any Lab Test Now store near you today to get your MMR Meter Testing.

Me and the Measles

My name is Terri McCulloch and I am the Vice President, Sales & Marketing for ANY LAB TEST NOW®.  Don’t let the title scare you – I’ve actually got a personal story that I thought might help some of you with questions about measles, vaccinations and your own immunity.

As you’ve seen in the news, 2015’s outbreak of the year so far has been the measles, a disease that was declared eradicated from the U.S.in 2000.  It is one of the easiest to contract – living on surfaces and in the air up to 2 hours after an infected person leaves that area.

So, after hearing the news, I called my mother.  I now have to admit I was born in 1963 and almost 52 years old; my mother is 76.  I had a number of reasons for questioning my immunity:

  1. I have a grandson with Down Syndrome.  Children with Down’s have lower immunity, even though he has been vaccinated.

  2. I have another grandson that is 9 months old who has not been vaccinated – he actually is not old enough for his first MMR vaccine yet.  My daughter is what I lovingly call a “millennial hippie” – she is a vegetarian, eats organic, has rain barrels and a garden in her backyard, and cares about people and the earth.  She has concerns about vaccines so after consulting with her naturopathic pediatrician, they decided my grandson would not receive his immunizations until after age 2.

  3. I’ve read  that vaccines given between 1957 and 1971 were not as effective as vaccines available now.

  4. I travel – a lot.  Usually 2 to 3 weeks a month.  When I am not traveling, I am meeting people.  So, as you see, I can be a likely carrier of anything and everything  unknowingly from people around me – even people who left less than 2 hours ago with the measles and may not yet know they are infected….

The last thing I wanted to do was get my grandsons sick.  So, let’s get back to my mom.  The conversation went like this:

Me: “Mom, did I ever have the measles growing up?”

Mom: “I think so, but I don’t remember.”

Me: “Did you get me vaccinated?”

Mom: “I don’tknow butI think so.  You’re in your 50s – I don’t have your shot records!”

Big question mark….

I had to make a decision – get a measles or MMR vaccine booster, or check to see if I am immune.  I made the personal decision to check my immunity and if I’m a walking hazard, I’ll then get vaccinated.  I got my MMR titer, a blood test that tests for immunities to the measles, mumps and rubella, yesterday.  I should have my results in just a few days.  As a grandmother, I already feel a lot better, knowing I will know for sure before something happens.

Know Your Measles Facts: Are You Immune?

(January 2015)- Unfortunately, the current outbreak of measles that began at Disneyland in California has now spread to the Phoenix, Arizona area. Will Humble, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, has stated that the outbreak has reached a “critical point” and that he suspects the number of cases will continue to increase throughout the United States as more unknown, asymptomatic infected people travel. As the virus becomes a reality in our neighborhoods, it’s important to be educated regarding the facts.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that, according to The Center for Disease Control, has the ability to affect 90% of the unimmune people in close proximity to an infected person. Infected people can spread the virus to others from four days before to four days after the rash symptom appears.

The virus typically begins to show with a fever, red and watery eyes, a cough, and a runny nose. Three to five days after the person becomes symptomatic, a red, raised, and blotchy rash that usually begins at the hairline and spreads downwards to the lower extremities appears. Keep in mind that the symptoms of measles generally show about seven to 14 days after a person has been infected.

As for immunity against this virus, a vaccine is administered via the MMR vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. In the United States, two doses are recommended for children, with the first dose recommended at 12-15 months of age.

If you are unsure if you have had the MMR vaccine or the measles, or are planning to travel internationally where there is an even higher incidence of measles, please contact your local Any Lab Test Now® for a simple recommended blood test. Any Lab Test Now® offers the “measles titer” to see if you are immune to measles. It is a quick blood test that measures your antibody levelsto this disease to get a sense for whether your immune system has the capability to respond to the infection. Don’t wait to gain peace of mind — get tested at your local Any Lab Test Now® today!