Failure to have children vaccinated against serious illnesses that once was a major threat is a growing problem. Most recently, the highly infectious viral disease blasts returned to South Carolina after a 20-year absence.
Baby boomers feel the disease like so many contracts in their younger years. But all vaccines all but dried out measles – as long as people followed the vaccination protocol. In 2000, measles were discontinued from the United States.
For various reasons, including religious beliefs and unfair claims that vaccines are responsible for autism, some people refuse to have vaccinated children. It is a potentially lethal decision.
S.C. The Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed six cases of measles in Spartanburg County. Since the examination of a first case in October, DHEC has made separate notifications of two and then three further.
In the first three cases, DHEC stated that the children are unvaccinated, not in school age and do not go to the nursery. The Agency did not announce whether the latter three cases are in unvaccinated individuals.
"The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes," says Dr. Linda Bell, DHEC's State Chemist. "The best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated. I urge everyone to review their immunization register and make sure they are up to date on all vaccinations."
By the 1960s, almost all children in the United States versus measles before the age of 5 years. About 500 people died of measles annually before the vaccine was introduced.
The first symptoms of measles include fever, cough and runny nose. These symptoms are followed in about two to four days of rash. Emissions usually last five to six days. Severe complications can occur with measles, including pneumonia, encephalitis and even deaths. Complications caused by the virus may occur in as many as three out of 10 cases. Complications are most commonly seen in children under 5 years of age, adults over 20 years, pregnant women and immunosuppressed individuals.
Most recover completely on their own. For uncomplicated cases, bed cans, drink plenty of fluids and prescription drugs to reduce fever and headache can help make infected people more comfortable. For those who need hospitalization, supportive care is the only treatment.
The disease is highly contagious and is spread to as many as nine out of 10 close contacts who have not previously had the disease or have been vaccinated. When an infected person leaves a place, the measles virus stays for up to two hours on surfaces and in the air.
According to DHEC, the measles vaccine, which is part of the Mässling-Kummus-Råva (MMR) vaccine, is the best way to protect yourself and others against measles. About 93 percent of those vaccinated with a dose have permanent protection and approximately 97 percent receive protection after two doses of measles vaccine. The vaccine is recommended for all infants at 12 months of age. A second dose is recommended between 4 and 6 years.
Measles vaccine is a requirement to attend daycare or school in South Carolina, and for the school year 2016-17, 96 percent of the kindergarten students had two doses of MMR. However, some children do not go to day care centers or schools, even in situations like home schools. These children also need the vaccine.
We must not allow diseases like measles again to be a threat. Vaccines are safe, effective and best protection.