Measles (Rubeola) (cont.)

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If measles only rarely occurs in the United States, why should I get vaccinated?

Although measles only rarely occurs in the United States, it still does occur and can be fatal. In the year 2000, almost 1 million children died of the disease. Through a very intensive effort by the World Health Organization, the number of deaths was decreased to only 139,300 in 2010.

When the number of vaccinated individuals starts to decrease, the disease starts to occur more frequently. This occurred from 1989 until 1991 in the U.S. During that period, there were 55,000 cases and 123 deaths from measles in the U.S. Due to a massive public-health effort, almost all children in the U.S. now receive measles vaccine before they are allowed to enter school. The number of cases of measles in the U.S. dropped to only 37 in 2004.

However, because of more people not being vaccinated, in 2011, the number of cases grew to 222. Fortunately, there were no deaths among those 222. Most cases are now from outside the U.S. The cases come from three common sources: infants being adopted from China, U.S. travelers being exposed while out of the country (now most commonly from European travel), and from foreign travelers visiting the U.S. A recent small outbreak was caused when a fan at Super Bowl 2012 exposed fans to the disease. At least two people contracted the disease from this exposure.

Do I need to be revaccinated against measles if I am traveling to Europe?

Europe is currently experiencing an epidemic of measles. In 2011, there were over 26,000 cases of measles and nine deaths. This is likely due to poor rates of vaccinations in many European countries. U.S. travelers should make sure that they have received at least two vaccinations against measles (MMR).

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Measles - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms associated with your measles? Did spots appear right away?
Measles - Experience Question: Did you have measles as a child? Please share your experience.
Measles - Treatment Question: What forms of treatment, including medication or home remedies, did you receive when you had measles?
Measles - Vaccine Experience Question: Please describe your experience with the measles vaccine.