Jacksonville, FL — “It appears measles is resurfacing in the US,” said Megan Brown, DO, pediatric ER physician at Memorial Hospital. “It is a contagious virus which starts as a fever and can cause serious health complications and even lead to death.”
Measles was eliminated from the US in 2000, but New York has seen an outbreak of 1000 cases this year. In 2017, there were 110,000 confirmed cases in the US with the majority of those affected being less than five years of age.
“The vaccine which is first given between 12-15 months of age is 97 percent effective against the virus,” said Dr. Brown. Prior to the availability of the vaccine, there were an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year from the virus. “It remains the leading cause of death in children less than five years of age worldwide.”
Measles is spread by droplets which means when someone coughs, anyone within six feet has the potential to catch the virus which can remain in the air for up to two hours. It then takes 6-21 days before symptoms will start to appear. The infected person is contagious starting five days before the appearance of a rash.
The symptoms of measles include a fever, malaise (being tired), and not wanting to eat. These symptoms are followed by a cough, irritation to the eyes, and nasal congestion. The rash typically appears two to four days after the fever.
If you suspect you or your child may have measles, and if you or your child is not vaccinated, seek medical attention immediately. The Measles vaccines can be administered by a pediatrician or a primary care physician.
Memorial Hospital Jacksonville reminds parents that its Pediatric Emergency Room is open from 8:00am to midnight daily.