Measles is a hot topic, unfortunately. There have been a several outbreaks, including a large one in California. This is troubling because many people had believed measles to be a disease of the past. The problem lies in the way people discuss the disease. The wording can be confusion. Measles was declared to have been "eliminated" in 2000. This does not mean that the disease is eradicated. What it means is that measles is not a "constant presence". People still contract the disease every year.
Is There A Vaccine and Should I Get It?
The odds are that you have been vaccinated against measles. The vaccine was created in 1963. Since then, most children have been vaccinated against measles along with mumps and rubella. There are exceptions. Some people have medical reasons why they were not vaccinated as children. Other people had parents who decided that they think vaccines are not safe.
The vaccine is given twice. The first time is when a child is very young (around 1 year old). The second time can occur between the ages of 4-11.
If you have not been vaccinated, then it is recommended that you get the vaccination. The exception to this recommendation pertains to people born before 1957.
The 1957 Exception
The only group that needs no vaccination is people who were born prior to 1957. This is because this is the last year that people were exposed to widespread measles. Scientists have found that close to 98% of people born before 1957 have immunity. In fact, many people born before this date have had measles.
Do You Need A Measles Booster?
There are several factors in determining whether or not you need to get a booster. Here is a quick checklist:
Did You Not Have Your Second Set Of Shots As A Child?
If you only had the first immunization, it is recommended that you get a booster. While the first shot is considered to be effective, the second shot is given as extra security. Some children do not have the second shot for a variety of reasons. If you never had your follow up shot, you need to have a booster.
Do You Work In A High Risk Environment?
Some people work in environments where they are likely to come into contact with measles. This includes healthcare workers and foreign aid workers. The booster is advisable in this situation, in case the childhood MMR did not properly immunize against measles.