4 things parents should know about measles

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - The United States has seen the most cases of measles this year since 1992. Recent reports indicate the number of cases is close to 1,200 and hospitalizing more than 100.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the majority of measles cases in the U.S. for 2019 are in people who are unvaccinated. The disease is dangerous because of serious complications that can develop, especially in children.

Doctors say one in 1,000 kids will get brain swelling and one in 20 will get pneumonia, meaning the complications from measles are what makes it so dangerous.

ARE STUDENTS SAFE HEADING BACK TO SCHOOL?

In Texas, we have not had the same outbreaks seen in other states. More than 75% of this year's measles outbreak is linked to New York.

But according to the health department, there have been four cases in Harris County, one in Galveston and 1 in Montgomery.

ARE CASES GOING TO RISE?

Kelsey-Seybold pediatrician Pam Sanders said making sure your kids are up to date on the MMR vaccine should be an important part of your back-to-school routine when kids will be exposed to more people and cases could rise.

"It's a very good, very protective and very safe vaccine," Sanders said. "We live in a very international city. We have many people from all over the world that we are in close contact with and importation of measles from another country would not be difficult or again just a population of people who are not immunized that definitely puts folks at risk."

The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, is recommended for children beginning at 1 year old. There is also a booster between ages 4 and 6.

IS THE VACCINE SAFE?

Sanders says it's safe and very effective.

"(The) association with autism was actually fraudulent," Sanders said. "The physician who propagated that no longer is able to practice medicine. It was an extremely devastating course of action because it led to many, many parents not immunizing their kids for measles and worldwide is this led to many outbreaks in measles and really helped fuel a trend vaccine hesitancy."

DO I NEED THE VACCINE AGAIN IN ADULTHOOD?

Most adults do not need another MMR.

Sanders said adults born before 1957 are considered to have had the disease and have an immune response built from that. For a short time after 1957, she said, a vaccine was given, but it's not considered as effective as what we have now.

So, if you're unsure where you land, you probably want to ask your doctor what you should do. In some cases, they may recommend these adults to get the MMR because they say it's safe to get it again even if you have been vaccinated and can't remember.

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