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How Can You Protect Yourself From the Measles Outbreak?

measles outbreak

For several weeks now, the U.S. has been in the middle of a measles outbreak. This has been most notable in the tri-state area, with Rockland County, New York declaring a state of emergency due to the outbreak. (Over 200 confirmed cases of the measles have occurred in this county alone.) While the measles has not been a prevalent issue in decades, it has recently resurfaced thanks to the anti-vaxxer movement, a movement in which many parents are refusing to vaccinate their children because they believe that vaccines are harmful.

The reality is that the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination is the exact reason we have not had a measles outbreak in decades. Now that many children are not receiving their vaccines, we are seeing the resurgence of viruses like the measles. With the outbreak in full-swing, many people want to know how vulnerable they are to the virus and what they can do to protect themselves. We’re discussing this below:

How Is the Measles Transmitted?

As we stated earlier, the measles is a highly contagious viral infection. That means transmission from one person to another occurs very easily. Measles is transmitted through contact with fluid from an infected person’s nose, mouth, or throat. This means that anyone with the measles sneezing, coughing, and spitting out into the air can transmit the virus quickly to other people around them.

measles prevention

A recent study revealed that just one person infected with the measles can transmit the virus to 90% of the unvaccinated people they come into contact with. Notice that we said “unvaccinated,” which brings us to our next question: Is the MMR vaccine the best way to protect yourself from the measles?

Is the MMR Vaccine the Best Way To Protect Yourself From the Measles?

While there is a major movement against vaccinations right now, the MMR vaccine is still the best way to protect yourself from the measles. The anti-vaxxer movement is most likely the exact reason we are in the middle of a measles outbreak right now. Nearly every single diagnosed case has been an unvaccinated child or adult. This, in turn, shows that the most effective prevention for the measles is having your MMR vaccination.

Most people received the MMR vaccine and subsequent boosters during childhood. These vaccinations provide a lifetime of protection from the measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. Even if you received just the initial vaccination and no boosters, you’re still 93% protected from catching the measles. Individuals who got the initial MMR vaccine and at least one booster increase their protection to 97% for the rest of their life.

It is also important to note that some children physically cannot receive their vaccines due to underlying medical conditions. Otherwise healthy children whose parents have opted out of vaccinating put these children at an increased risk because they have eliminated the protection of herd immunity. Herd immunity refers to a societal protection against viruses like the measles. When most of the people in the community are protected from a virus, it makes it highly unlikely that virus will become an issue and spread to children with compromised immune systems.

measles prevention

All in all, research has shown that the only definitive protection from viruses like the measles is to get vaccinated and have your children vaccinated. There is no scientific research to prove that vaccinations are harmful for healthy children, so opting out of vaccinations does nothing but lead to the outbreak of viruses once considered a thing of the past.

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