Here in Southern California, we (well… most of us…) love our trips to Disneyland! To hear that a tragic US measles outbreak started as a result of someone with the highly contagious respiratory virus visiting the “Happiest Place on Earth” – contagious even if you are in the same room with the person – is of course awful news. But why is this disease that was at one point believed to be gone forever in the US back? And if your child has had only their first MMR, are they at risk? And do we moms/dads need to be re-vaccinated? Breezy Mama got these answers and more from our favorite go-to pediatrician, Dr. Gillin.
Why are measles back? I feel like it’s an old school concern but now there’s a major outbreak thanks to Disneyland visitors.
It’s due to international measles, gaps in vaccinations here, and the contagiousness of the measles virus.
There has been an international measles outbreak, especially in countries such as the Philippines.
We have individuals here that are not vaccinated, or do not know if they have been- either by choice, or not realizing that they haven’t had the proper number of vaccines.
Measles is a very contagious illness, that lasts in the air for hours.
With international travel, unvaccinated individuals are at risk for contracting and spreading the disease.
(as of today, 92% of our current outbreak is in unvaccinated/ not fully vaccinated individuals).
If a child has their first MMR vaccine are they still susceptible?
1 dose is 93-97% effective.
Remember, current vaccination recommendations are:
1st dose age 12 months
2nd dose age 4-6 years.
What are the signs/symptoms of measles?
Fever, typical measles rash (if you haven’t seen the picture on the internet or TV yet, then stop reading this and crawl back into your cave), cough, runny nose and watery eyes. The kids look sick.
What is the risk of the vaccine?
The vaccine can cause a fever and a rash 6-14 days after the vaccine is given. The vaccine is a safe vaccine. It does not cause autism or other developmental disorders. There is no conspiracy theory here….people get the vaccine to prevent measles. Let’s not be reminded why.
What is the risk if NOT vaccinated but catching measles?
Measles can cause brain damage, deafness, pneumonia, and death.
I read that being in the same room with someone can lead to catching it. What can one look for to know avoiding contact?
Yes, it lives in the air for hours. But guess what…no one walks around with a sign that says “Measles”. They do not know even they have the measles- maybe they think they have the flu. For certain, stay away from anyone with a fever. Whether it be measles or the flu, we don’t want any of that.
This is a really hard question- for those who are unable to be vaccinated- those babies who are too young to be vaccinated- do you keep them at home, or continue with normal life…..is it the media drama, or is this real?
Who knows? I think we are sort of in a holding pattern right now…waiting to see what happens. If it continues to spread, then we will have to keep these babies at home. I think for today, you use your judgement.
Do us moms/dads need to get the vaccine again?
Moms and dads need to make sure they had their 2 doses, if they do not, or do not know, then get one. Local pharmacies make it very easy to get.
Anything else you’d like to share (always my fav question for YOU 🙂
1. If you have not had the MMR, get it. If you do not know, get it.
2. Vaccinate your children. Even my patients that “do not vaccinate” have come in this week for the MMR. It’s time. There is an outbreak in your backyard, and front yard….not sure what you are waiting for now?
3. If you are sick, stay home…..no one wants your fever, flu, measles, or anything else!
Also, please stay informed. Stay up to date on up to date information. I know you all check your instagram/tweet/facebook/goop/netaporter whatever. Give cdc.gov a chance.
If this outbreak spreads, there maybe future recommendations as to increased vaccinations, or warnings as to going out/ gatherings/ etc. Time will tell.
P.S. I always thought the “thigh on a stick” was the most disgusting thing about Disney. Well, Measles just beat that out. 🙂
Co-founder of Coast Pediatrics Del Mar , Shakha Gillin, MD, FAAP, has been in North County since 1990. She attended UCSD for her undergraduate education and for medical school. She did her residency at UC Irvine, and was the chief resident at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach. She practiced pediatrics in La Jolla for 5 years and Encinitas for 5 years. She has also worked at a private practice in Newport Beach and at the Rady Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.
Dr. Shakha Gillin has a special interest in preventative care, particularly healthy and active lifestyles for children. She was recognized by San Diego Magazine as a “Top Doctor” in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. She was recognized as “Best Pediatrician” by Ranch and Coast in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
For more information and to contact Dr. Gillin, visit: www.coastpediatrics.com