Arizona seems to have escaped the first round of the national measles outbreak without any more cases, but that doesn’t mean we can drop our guard. Measles is still circulating in the country, especially in nearby states. So parents, nurses, doctors and all healthcare professionals need to consider measles as a possibility when someone has a rash and high fever, runny nose, or red, watery eyes. And, of course, children need to continue getting vaccinated.
According to CDC’s latest report, the Disneyland-associated measles outbreak sickened 142 people in 7 states. We think that the outbreak started with an international traveler or someone who had traveled overseas visited the park while infectious. Measles is contagious up to 4 days before the rash appears; it also lingers in the air and on surfaces after an infected person leaves a room. That makes it one of the most infectious diseases we deal with in public health.
Luckily, there is a way to prevent measles and its spread – vaccination. The MMR vaccine is one of the best vaccines we have – 1 dose is 93% effective and 2 doses are 97% effective. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely it is for measles to catch hold in a community. To achieve herd immunity for measles in a community, it takes a vaccination rate of about 94.