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3191940 tn?1447268717

US measles cases hit 25-year high

Measles was thought to be eliminated from the US in the year 2000, but a more recent surge in vaccine hesitancy has resulted in 2019 seeing the highest annual number of cases in 25 years as of April.  

Meanwhile, reported cases worldwide have risen 300%: https://www.who.int/immunization/newsroom/measles-data-2019/en/

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world, and it is estimated that 1 in every 20 people who get it will suffer complications that require hospitalization, including pneumonia and encephalitis, and approximately 1 in 1,000 victims will die.  The great news is that the measles vaccine series (MMR) offers 93% protection after one dose, and 97% protection after 2 doses.  The second "booster" recommendation wasn't made until 1989, so anyone born before then should either check their records, get titers drawn, or just get a second vaccine to be sure - another one WON'T hurt even if you've already had two - and if you're a needle-phobe, then you should probably just get a second shot since getting titers also involves a needle.

Do you have concerns about the measles resurgence?  Do you have a friend or family member at risk?  
6 Responses
207091 tn?1337709493
Does anyone know if insurance is covering these boosters or titer testing?

Also, is it a guarantee that people born before 1957 will have immunity, or should they get checked?

Great question!  It's going to depend on your insurance company.  Titer testing can be expensive and would most likely be out-of-pocket; however, if you call your insurance company about getting an extra vaccine, you'd probably have better luck.  Insurance companies love to pay for preventive treatments vs risking paying for treatment for the actual disease.

If people born before 1957 know for sure that they HAD the measles, there's no cause for concern.  They're almost certainly immune.  If they aren't sure, they should definitely talk to their doctor about getting titers or a vaccine.  
649848 tn?1534633700
From what I’ve been reading, it’s “assumed” that those of us born prior to 1957 would have had what are considered the  “childhood diseases” because usually when one child got them most children in an area got them from exposure in school, church or family.  Many parents purposely exposed children to these illnesses because it was thought that the younger they were when they got them the easier the illnesses were to get through!!!  Having had them all and still bearing scars from sores caused by the rashes, I’d certainly never say I agreed.

Because it’s only assumed that those of us born before 1957 are immune, I agree that you should check with your doctor if you’re in doubt as to whether or not you might be immune.  Since I know I had both types of measles (measles and rubella), as well as mumps, I’ve no doubt as to my own immunity.  I will be talking to both of my grown children to make sure they check with their doctors to make sure of their immunity.

You should definitely talk to your insurance carrier about coverage because they do vary.  I haven’t checked with mine in regards to MMR since have natural immunity; however there are other immunizations I’ve come across that some carriers cover and others don’t, so that could also hold true for MMR.
973741 tn?1342342773
I never had the measles and looks like I will need a booster.  This is great information.  I'll follow up with my doctor.  There is a woman who's story of her infant daughter really touched me.  https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/06/health/measles-baby-misdiagnosis-eprise/index.html.  It's good to be educated about measles as younger practicing doctors today haven't seen a lot of cases (yet) and they may have trouble diagnosing it.  Best to arm yourself for information in my opinion.  

The woman really drives home the point that not just you are at risk if you get the measles but a more vulnerable person could have devastating consequences should they get it from you.

I have a physical coming up and plan to ask about a booster.  I'll probably do that rather than test as I'm guessing that is the most economical option in my case.  
I was born in 1961.  Was there such a thing as the german measles or red measles?
German measles is called rubella, and is covered by the MMR vaccine, if you've had that.


"Red measles" is rubeola, which is what we commonly call "measles" today, and what is causing the outbreaks. (I never heard this term - learn something new every day.) https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=rubeola-measles-90-P02543

Rubella and rubeola are not the same thing.

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/ask-well-measles-vs-german-measles/ (copying because it may be behind a paywall for some)

What is the difference between "measles" and "German measles"? Is the measles vaccine (MMR) effective against both?


They are two different viral diseases. Measles, which has been spreading in the United States in recent months, is rubeola. German measles is rubella. Rubella causes a milder illness than measles, but it is of particular concern because if a pregnant woman becomes infected, the virus can cause severe birth defects. Like measles, rubella infections no longer originate in the United States, but travelers can bring it in; since 2001, there has been only a smattering of reported rubella cases. The M.M.R. vaccine protects against both diseases. *(This is from 2015, before the current outbreaks.)

Thanks for your question. Seriously, I learned a few things. :)
German measles is known as "three-day measles" because it's a milder form of measles.  Rarely, German measles can be contracted a second time.  

Regular measles is also known as "hard measles", red measles, or just "measles" - this is the rubeola virus Emily noted above.  


It might be helpful to note that there's another disease called "Fifth Disease" that's sometimes mistaken for measles.  "It is called fifth disease because it is the fifth of the five viral rash diseases of childhood (the other four being measles, rubella, chicken pox and roseola)."  https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/fifth-disease/

The only reason I know about Fifth Disease is because my son had it when he was little and I thought it was measles but when I took him to the doctor that was the diagnosis.  It's characterized by bright red rash on the cheeks that resemble someone who's been slapped.   It's caused by human parvovirus B19.  The link above gives some good information, if anyone is interested.
Ohh yes, that's true about Fifth Disease. My niece and nephews had it when they were little, and it can look like measles.
242912 tn?1402543492
This is all very interesting.  I was born 4 yrs before the MMR was available.  I have no idea if I ever received that vaccine or not.   I am thinking I did not since I did have the Mumps as a child.  I remember this clearly, so I was much older than 4yrs and why I think I never received the MMR.  I also had Chicken Pox, but never any kind of Measles.  

This outbreak has scared me a little.  Thanks to everyone who has posted links and info.  Looks like I may need to ask my Dr for a booster although I'm unsure of that since a booster is given after getting the vaccine a first time??  
You can ask your doctor to check you for antibodies if you prefer, but it might be easier to just go ahead and get the vaccine - not a booster if you've never been vaccinated.  I don't think it will matter that you've already had the mumps... the vaccine only comes with all 3 antigens.

Mumps can be contracted a second time, although that, too is very rare.
I do believe I have read that the shot is cheaper than the test for immunity, and it is no sweat to get the shot, so most of the time that is what a doctor would recommend.
Barb, yes, now that you say that, I remember one can get the Mumps twice.  I figured I would need the full vaccine.  

I was also wondering if one could have a reaction to it, Annie, good to read it's not a big deal.  

Thank you both!    
I had the "red" measles when i was 5 wks old.  My momma said i just layed in my bassinette next to her bed, The doctor would ride his bike over everyday to check on me.  She said i was quite sick.  I also had the German measles before i was 1 yr old.  I looked in my baby book.  Never had the mumps and hopefully never do but have had no immunization for it.  Thank you for answering some of my questions~
Sara...that's great you were able to look all that up in your baby book!  Wow, you poor little sick thing!  At least you were young enough to not to have any memory of it.  

That was my first thought, too...to look in my baby book to see if my Mom had listed my immunizations.  That book is at my parents house; I know exactly where it is, but unfortunately the closet where it's kept is inaccessible due to my Dad's hoard blocking it, so I won't find it until he passes, which, with this outbreak now, will be far too late, so it looks like I'll be getting the full vaccine ASAP.  
Avatar universal
So the measles outbreak seems to be slowing down. Does this mean it's starting to end?

A family member and I are in a debate about this. I say it isn't, and she needs to vaccinate her kids. She says it's slowing, so she shouldn't. I know you don't want to debate the vaccine, but is it slowing down?
3191940 tn?1447268717
If you live in the northern hemisphere, this is probably your experience.  In the southern hemisphere, we're likely to start seeing an increase in outbreaks.   It's not that measles is suddenly less infectious, or that the outbreaks can be considered truly over - the answer is actually fairly simple.  The weather is warmer, and people spend more time on activities that are outdoors instead of in confined spaces: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604842/

No one should get too complacent.  If you've watched the news, you know that a lot of the outbreaks in the US have originated with people traveling overseas to countries with active outbreaks, and they catch it, and bring it back.  Summertime is a heavy travel season, so it's only a matter of time before another outbreak occurs.  Here's an interesting news story about why travel is a factor: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/06/11/measles-cases-surpass-1000-medical-experts-worry-summer-travel/1407880001/

The time to get vaccinated is BEFORE an outbreak.  Since it takes several weeks post-vaccination to achieve immunity, waiting until an outbreak occurs could be too late.  Since one dose offers 93% protection, and two doses offers 97% protection, getting started on the series as soon as it's possible is your best bet.
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