In a news report in the Arizona Daily Star, the Pima County Health Department is alerting residents to be on the lookout for the symptoms of measles and to review their vaccination records.
This alert is because of the confirmation of measles in a young boy who is just over a year old. The child was adopted from another country.
This is the first case of measles in the county since 2008.
Health officials are careful to not to say that there will be more cases of measles, but if your vaccination is not up to date—get vaccinated.
Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Other symptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patient may be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.
The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infected include; seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis.
Prevention is through vaccination. The MMR vaccine was first licensed for use in 1971. This vaccine should be given in two doses at 12-15 months and the second at 4-6 years. Some adults should get one dose of the vaccine if they were born after 1956 and have no record of having the diseases or vaccinations. As an adult you don’t need the vaccine if you meet certain criteria such as age or negative blood tests.
A few years ago, a MMRV vaccine was developed which includes protection against varicella or chickenpox.