Should You Get a Measles Booster Shot? Here's What Experts Say

Wayne CurryMay 01, 2019

The CDC lists nine ongoing outbreaks, and notes that each of those outbreaks "are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring".

She explained that in places where there are 'extreme disease pressures, we know that there can be vaccine failures'.

- Other outbreaks have been reported in Washington state, New Jersey, California's Butte County and MI. Other cases that have been reported to the CDC have occurred in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.

Measles cases in the United States are the highest they've been 25 years and expected to continue to rise. The latest figures released from those communities reveal that since that time, there have been a total of 202 cases in Rockland County and 390 cases in Brooklyn and Queens.

And with the disease once more in the spotlight, people have questions about who should be vaccinated aside from young children.

Although it's likely harmless, Schaffner says it's not necessary for most people to get another dose of MMR, especially if they're up-to-date with CDC recommendations.

About one out of every 1,000 children with measles will develop swelling of the brain, or encephalitis, which can lead to convulsions and leave the child deaf or with an intellectual disability. Making matter more hard, symptoms don't usually show up for a week or two after exposure meaning it can be spread by people who've been infected but don't know they have the measles and may assume it's a cold or other illness.

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There are no treatments and no cures for measles, said CDC Director Robert Redfield.

No deaths have been reported in outbreaks this year. This is yet another instance where a lab test can determine a person's immunity and if a booster shot is necessary.

Who needs a measles booster shot?

"The problem is you're infectious even before you have obvious symptoms like the rash", said CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook. If you've been exposed to the disease, a vaccine will begin working within 72 hours of exposure.

Federal officials said they are concerned that the outbreak could gain footing in the USA again if the outbreaks are controlled soon.

While vaccines are required for school children across the country, nearly all states allow exemptions for families who say it's against their religious beliefs, and 17 states allow a parent to opt out for philosophical or personal reasons.

People vaccinated in the United States since 1989 would most likely have received two doses of the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot under federal guidelines, and that is still considered the standard for protection.

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