Vitality

Measles Outbreak Update: Should Adults Get New Vaccination Amid Spread Of Disease?

Health experts and organizations across the U.S. consider 2019 as the worst year for measles since the disease was declared eliminated nationwide nine years ago. There has been a growing number of states reporting outbreaks. 

The government confirmed 704 cases of measles in six states, including New Jersey, which recently reported 14 patients. Experts associated the measles outbreak to low vaccination rates amid the vaccine scare in the U.S. 

The World Health Organization suggested that for a community to avoid any infection, 93 percent to 95 percent of residents should have immunity. In the U.S., most American adults currently are immune to measles.

However, health experts said that some adults should consider getting another round of vaccines, particularly those who got a certain type of vaccine several decades ago, NJ.com reported.

Today’s adults who were born before 1957 can be considered immune to measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But CDC is encouraging people to take a lab test to confirm their immunity. 

“You need at least one dose of measles vaccine unless a laboratory confirmed that you had past measles infection or are immune to measles,” the agency said. 

Some adults may need two doses, including those who live or work in high-risk areas, such as students, health care personnel and international travelers. David Cennimo, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said it is safe for anyone to get another shot even if they already had two doses. 

“It would not hurt you,” he told NJ.com. “There may not be a need for it, but it wouldn’t hurt."

To see if you are still immune to measles, you can take a simple blood test to check if you have sufficient antibodies. 

The CDC said the measles vaccine is safe and effective for people. Getting two doses have been found to be 97 percent effective to block the disease, while a single dose appeared 93 percent effective.

However, some people should delay getting vaccinated. The CDC said those with severe or life-threatening allergies, suffering from tuberculosis, those with a weakened immune system, pregnant women and those with a family history of immune system problems should avoid measles vaccine or should delay getting it. 

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