Know Your Measles Facts: Are You Immune?

(January 2015)- Unfortunately, the current outbreak of measles that began at Disneyland in California has now spread to the Phoenix, Arizona area. Will Humble, the director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, has stated that the outbreak has reached a “critical point” and that he suspects the number of cases will continue to increase throughout the United States as more unknown, asymptomatic infected people travel. As the virus becomes a reality in our neighborhoods, it’s important to be educated regarding the facts.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that, according to The Center for Disease Control, has the ability to affect 90% of the unimmune people in close proximity to an infected person. Infected people can spread the virus to others from four days before to four days after the rash symptom appears.

The virus typically begins to show with a fever, red and watery eyes, a cough, and a runny nose. Three to five days after the person becomes symptomatic, a red, raised, and blotchy rash that usually begins at the hairline and spreads downwards to the lower extremities appears. Keep in mind that the symptoms of measles generally show about seven to 14 days after a person has been infected.

As for immunity against this virus, a vaccine is administered via the MMR vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. In the United States, two doses are recommended for children, with the first dose recommended at 12-15 months of age.

If you are unsure if you have had the MMR vaccine or the measles, or are planning to travel internationally where there is an even higher incidence of measles, please contact your local Any Lab Test Now® for a simple recommended blood test. Any Lab Test Now® offers the “measles titer” to see if you are immune to measles. It is a quick blood test that measures your antibody levelsto this disease to get a sense for whether your immune system has the capability to respond to the infection. Don’t wait to gain peace of mind — get tested at your local Any Lab Test Now® today!

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