The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been measles outbreaks across 22 states, one of the affected areas includes Baltimore.
Overall, there have been 681 cases across 22 states this year. Measles is a very contagious disease, caused by a virus that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Doctors say the disease can linger in the air for up to two hours.
“If someone comes in contact with a person who had measles even after two hours, they have a risk of touching an object that might have the measles virus,” Mohammed Ali said, an infectious disease consultant at Meritus Medical Center. Experts that track these infectious diseases explain possible reasons for this year’s large outbreak.
“Travelers, but there has also been a recent trend of people not getting vaccinations there’s a little anti-vaccination campaign in some parts of the country most of these people live in groups so there’s more chance of spreading them in the communities,” Ali said.
Some of the symptoms include a runny nose, red eyes, fever, headaches, and coughs. This disease is preventable with proper vaccination. The MMR vaccine is a vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella.
“There is a common vaccine called MMR that’s given to all children starting at age 9-12 then they get another booster, between 4-5 so anyone who has had this vaccination they are protected against measles,” Ali said.
With this series of cases, Meritus Medical Center has their own precautions. “We send out newsletters to our physicians, and the pediatric department. We also take airborne precautions by putting patients with warning signs in a very special room that has specific air precautions. You should wear a mask, wear gloves, and handwash with soap and water,” Ali said.
Experts say benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to the vaccine.