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HealthDay: Parents, Here's How to Protect Your Child During Measles Outbreaks

HealthDay.com recently featured Michael Ben-Aderet, MD, associate director of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai, about how parents can protect their children during the measles outbreak.

U.S. health officials have said that measles cases in 2019 have now climbed to more than 880, the highest yearly total since 1994. Infections have been confirmed in 24 states, with many of the cases showing up in unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York and in communities with residents returning from travels in Europe and Israel, where measles outbreaks have been prevalent.

"Though it is rare to experience life-threatening complications, measles is a particularly contagious disease," Ben-Aderet told HealthDay.com. "However, the risk of contracting it is extremely low and it's even more rare to experience life-threatening side effects. But the threat is real and it's important parents are informed on how to keep their children healthy and safe," he said in a medical center news release.

Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provide more than 99% lifelong immunity to measles, and this is the best way to protect against the disease, Ben-Aderet said. 

Children are usually vaccinated at 12 months. Children under 6 months of age can't be given their first of two MMR shots because it is a live vaccine. This means that many children under the age of 1 are unvaccinated and have a higher chance of contracting measles.

"The majority of people contracting measles in the current outbreak are unvaccinated," Ben-Aderet told HealthDay.com

Others who cannot receive the MMR vaccine include the elderly, pregnant women, people with poor nutrition and those with weakened immune systems, including cancer, HIV and transplant patients.

"These high-risk groups are also more likely to experience more serious complications from the disease," Ben-Aderet said to HealthDay.

Click here to read the complete story on HealthDay.com. 

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Measles: What You Need to Know