New measles cases in Michigan mean get that vaccination

So, how serious does the threat of measles have to be to prompt people to get their children vaccinated?

Because Michigan health officials again have sounded the alarm about the disease, which quite frankly should have become an afterthought a long time ago.

From 2001 to 2012, the United States averaged 60 cases of measles a year. That was for the entire country.

But as happens when something is so out of sight, out of mind, people grew lax about getting vaccinated against the disease.

This year, Michigan has confirmed 15 cases of measles as of Friday, the highest level the state has seen since 1994, when 26 cases were reported, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s after the number of measles cases number of U.S. cases almost doubled to 118 in 2017, including two in Michigan.

The Oakland County Health Division recently said two county residents with the disease arrived Oct. 23 on a flight at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus.

It points up how measles can manage to be a threat, even in areas that might not seem vulnerable. Again, reason to have that shot.

Measles is a preventable respiratory infection that can result in hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis and death. The illness has a 10- to 12-day incubation period and initially presents with a high fever, red eyes, cough, runny nose, and is followed by a red, raised body rash starting on the head and face that then spreads to the rest of the body. Measles patients often experience eye pain and sensitivity to light. Cases can be contagious a few days before the rash appears, which increases the possibility of unknowingly exposing others.

Successful prevention and control of measles requires high levels of immunity in all communities.

The measles vaccine is highly effective and very safe. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of the vaccine.

The first of two routine childhood measles vaccine doses is given at 12 months of age. A second vaccine dose is given before the start of kindergarten.

Measles has been a relatively rare disease in the United States since the vaccine was included in routine childhood immunization since the 1960s. From 2001 to 2012, the average number of measles cases reported nationally per year was about 60.

However, measles continues to be common in other countries.

To help parents protect their children, MDHHS has partnered with the Franny Strong Foundation on the I Vaccinate campaign, which provides facts for parents to make informed decisions about vaccinations. For more information, go online to IVaccinate.org.

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