By: Dr. Heather Davies and Dr. Joey Mechak
Measles has been a hot topic in 2019. So far, in 2019 there have been 555 confirmed cases of Measles in the United States including three confirmed cases in Maryland. We have received lots of phone calls about measles and wanted to provide you with some basic information, symptoms to look out for, and ways to protect your children from contracting the disease.
What is Measles?: Measles is a highly contagious virus that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The first signs of illness include high fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and a sore throat. Subsequently, the infected person develops a red rash that starts on the head that then spreads to the trunk and lower extremities. The average incubation period from the time of exposure until symptoms of measles is 11–12 days , and the average interval between exposure and rash onset is 14 days, with a range of 7–21 days.[2, 3]
How do I protect my child against Measles?: First, and most importantly, receiving the MMR (Mumps, Measles, Rubella) vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and family members from measles. Children should receive their first dose of MMR between 12-15 months of age (we give it during the 12-month check-up) and their second dose between 4-6 years of life (we give ours at the 4-year check-up). If you are traveling internationally, there are some additional shots needed, please consult us well in advance of your travel and we can explain what else is needed. One dose of MMR vaccine is approximately 93% effective at preventing measles; two doses are approximately 97% effective according to the CDC.
Second, avoid anyone with symptoms of measles, especially those that are unvaccinated. The dates, time, and location of potential exposures to the individual infected with Measles in Maryland are:
- 4000 Old Court Rd in Pikesville on Sunday, April 14 from 10:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m.
- Market Maven (1630 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville) on Sunday, April 14 from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Seven Mile Market (201 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville) on Sunday, April 14 from 12:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
What do I do if I think my child has Measles?: Anyone exhibiting possible symptoms of measles should immediately limit their exposure to other people. Our patients with possible exposure to measles who have not previously received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine should contact us at (301) 279-6750 or call the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’ Disease Control Office at 240-777-1755 prior to visiting our office or another healthcare facility. Taking these steps reduces the chances of potentially exposing other people to measles.
How do I get more information? As always, you can call us at 301-279-6750 and talk with one of our nurses or doctors. In addition, below are some helpful link from trusted websites to look over:
- Klinkenberg D, Nishiura H. The correlation between infectivity and incubation period of measles, estimated from households with two cases. J Theor Biol 2011;284(1):52–60. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.06.015
- Strebel P, Papania MJ, Gastanaduy PA, Goodson JL. Measles vaccine. In: Plotkin SA, Orenstein WA, Offit PA, editors. Vaccines. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2017. p. 579–618.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Measles. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Kimberlin DW, Long SS, editors. 2009 Red Book: report of the committee on infectious diseases. 28th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009. p. 444–6.