Darren T. Scoggin, MD
Children’s Medical Group
- Measles is a preventable viral illness. Measles is a virus that causes a grouping of symptoms that usually starts with fever, cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis (or red eyes), followed by rash in many patients. There is no cure for the disease, but there is an effective vaccine to protect against it. Potential complications of measles include ear infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, encephalitis (swelling and inflammation of the brain), and rarely, death.
- Measles is very contagious. The spread of measles is usually through direct contact with respiratory droplets (from coughing, sneezing, runny nose, etc), and this is considered to be one of the most contagious infectious diseases. It has an average incubation period of 7-10 days, but may be as long as 21 days from exposure to symptom onset.
- There is currently an outbreak of measles in the U.S. The disease was considered eliminated from the United States in 2000; however, since that time there have been isolated outbreaks. Currently, the United States is experiencing the highest outbreak of disease in a single year since 1994. Thankfully, there has not been a native case of measles in Mississippi since 1992, largely due to our strong vaccination rates.
- The measles vaccine is safe and effective! The MMR vaccine has been studied extensively and proven safe for giving routinely to all children at 12-15 months and again at 4-6 years. The proposed association of the MMR vaccine with childhood illnesses such as autism has been disproven many times by credible scientific studies. One dose of the vaccine leads to at least 93% immunity against the disease, and two doses raises immunity to greater than 97%. A population immunity of 95% is required to stop the spread of measles. Mississippi leads the nation in immunization rates of children entering school.
- If traveling, your child may need a shot. Measles is still endemic to many parts of the world. If traveling outside of the U.S. and your child has not received two doses of MMR, discuss with your child’s doctor if he or she may require an MMR vaccine.