Measles – Get the Vaccine to Eradicate the Disease

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The current outbreak of measles shows the need for renewed focus on vaccination efforts. Measles is one of the most infectious viruses known to humans.  According to the World Bank, measles continues to cause more deaths than any other infectious diseases, including Ebola, flu or HIV. Worldwide estimation is 20 million people are infected with measles and 146,000 people die annually. Measles is only found in humans and is an airborne virus, meaning it is contracted through the air we breathe.

Measles symptoms occur 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. The first noticeable symptoms are fever that increases dramatically, often peaking around 104 F, a cough, runny nose or conjunctivitis (pink eye) that last two to four days. Following these symptoms, a rash will present on mucous membranes (Koplik spots) for one to two days then the measles rash appears and lasts for five to six days. The measles rash begins at the hairline followed by the face and upper neck then proceeds downward for the next three days. The most infectious period is four days before the rash appears to four days after the rash. About 30 percent of all reported cases of measles have complications and are most common in children younger than five years. One in 1,000 children with measles will have febrile seizures, which are seizures brought on by a fever.

Since the measles vaccine became available, cases of the disease have been reduced 98 percent. There was a concern about the vaccine increasing the risk of autism, but this claim was not substantiated after 14 scientific studies.  Based on current medical evidence, it is in you and your family's best interest to receive the measles vaccination, which will help eradicate this disease from the world.

If you or someone in your family has not received the measles vaccination, please visit the Eielson Clinic Vaccinations desk. No appointment is necessary and the vaccinations are readily available.