Measles has been back in the news this year after a horrendous outbreak traced back to California’s Disneyland. Here are all the measles facts you need to know to keep yourself and your loved ones measles-free.
1. About one in four people in the U.S. who gets the measles will be hospitalized.
2. One out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling, which could lead to brain damage.
3. One or two out of 1,000 people with the measles will die, even with the best care.
4. Symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected. Measles typically begins with high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Two or three days later, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out.
5. Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.
6. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.
7. Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears.
8. Measles is a disease of humans; measles virus is not spread by any other animal species.
9. Measles can be prevented with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. One dose of MMR vaccine is about 93 percent effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus, and two doses are about 97 percent effective.
10. In the U.S., widespread use of the measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99 percent reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era.
This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Summer 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.