You may have recently heard about an outbreak of the
measles in Washington state. This year, 206 children have had confirmed cases
of measles. Here are some fast facts to know about measles virus.
It starts out like a cold. The initial symptoms of measles are very similar to those of a common cold.
Is most commonly begins with high fever, cough, runny nose, and red watery
eyes and is followed a few days later by a rash that begins on the face
and hairline and spreads downward towards your limbs. This can make it
difficult to distinguish a common cold from the measles. People mistakenly
think “measles is just a harmless cold with a rash”. Not for everyone.
It is a serious illness. For every 1,000 children who get the measles, one to two will die from
it. Let me say that again, for every 1,000 children who get the measles,
one to two will die from it. One out of every 1,000 children infected
will develop encephalitis. Encephalitis is swelling of the brain that
can lead to seizures, deafness, and intellectual disability. One in 20
children developed pneumonia as a complication of measles. Additionally,
measles can cause pregnant women to have preterm birth.
Kids are hit the hardest. Children under 5 years and over 20 years are most likely to develop complications
of all age groups.
The virus is highly contagious. Measles virus is spread through mucus in the throat or nose of an infected
person. Measles can live outside of the body for up to two hours in the
air of the room where an infected person coughed or sneezed, and up to
90% of the people close to that person will become infected if not immune.
It can be prevented. Immunization is an effective and safe way to help prevent infection with
measles. Measles immunization is available for children 12 months and
up. The recommended doses are given at 12 months of age and again at 4
years of age. Two doses of the MMR immunization are about 97% effective
at preventing the measles.
If your child is not current with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination
(MMR) or other
recommended vaccinations, call the Campbell County Medical Group
Pediatric Clinic at 307.688.3636 for an appointment today.
Hollie Stewart, MD, is a Pediatrician in the Campbell County Medical Group Pediatrics
Francesca McCaffrey, DO, MPH. The Clinic is located in the Main Clinic at 501 S. Burma Avenue
in Gillette, Wyoming, on the south side of
Campbell County Memorial Hospital. Learn more about this practice at