Six states are in the middle of seven separate measles outbreaks this year. It is proving to be one of the worst years for measles in a long while. There are up to 555 cases of measles in the U.S. and counting. That is more than twice the cases reported in all of 2018.
Rockland County just declared a state of emergency to try and control the outbreak which has been growing since October 2018. The New York City Department of Health has also closed down schools. It has also instituted an emergency order that fines those living in Williamsburg and not vaccinated.
There is still an accumulation of new outbreaks in areas researchers predicted would get affected because of the low vaccination rates.
Some of the questions you might have regarding the measles outbreak are:
Where are the outbreaks?
20 states had reported cases of measles as of April 11th. These states include:
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- New York
How many people are sick?
Most of the states affected have less than 30 reported measles cases with the exemption of New York where there have been 329 reported cases. In Washington, there have also been 74 reported cases of measles. This is according to information as of April 16th.
In the states of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Missouri, only one to three cases have been reported.
How did it start?
The Health officials are yet to release much detail about patient zero in the measles outbreak in Washington. However, state epidemiologist Scott Lindquist informed KOMO Radio that it was a person from outside the U.S. that exposed some kids to the virus.
What should I be doing?
You should ensure that your children get both doses of the MMR vaccine if they are yet to have it. All adults and healthy teenagers should also get the shot, barring any medical issue. Only pregnant people are exempted from taking the shot.
Many laws in most states do not allow minors to make their own health decisions. Their parents need to be present for them to take the shot. However, there are some states where minors are allowed to get vaccinated without their parent’s consent. A physician can give people who reside in these states the vaccine as long as they deem them mature enough to understand the process.
People who live in the areas affected should check the list of the potential exposure sites on their state’s department of health website. In case you discover that you might have been exposed to the measles, immediately call a physician to determine if you are immune to the virus. You are considered to be immune if you have had both doses of MMR
It is important for you to get a measles vaccination. You should also urge others to get vaccinated.