As Measles Return, a Lone Tree Pediatrician Urges Getting Immunized

In the opening days of 2015, seven states—all in the western half of the country—reported an outbreak of measles. Authorities believed it stemmed from the recent outbreak in Disneyland, putting California at the heart of the outbreak itself. Colorado is one of the seven affected states, although with only one case to date.

Without Vaccinations

Despite measles having been declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, the disquieting spike to more than 600 cases in 2014 shook many Americans. It could only mean the measles came from outside the country, probably brought to the country by returning residents or migrants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified the 2014 strain as the same one responsible for the Philippines’ own outbreak in the same year.

With Americans being reintroduced to a threat they believed was extinct, more mothers have voiced concerns regarding the current vaccine’s capability. A mother of a two-year-old, in an interview with ABC News, said her child’s first measles shot won’t be enough, even if it provides an immunity rate of 92 to 97 percent.

Measles shots don’t work in singles. Pediatricians recommend that a second shot be given at age five to complete the immunization (the first shot is given at 12 months). The reason for the huge time gap is to give the body ample time to develop immunity against measles. The live, weakened virus administered should register with the body’s immune system.

Another reason for sticking to the proper measles schedule, prescribed by both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), is the passive immunity newborns maintain for at least six to eight months. The transfer of antibodies from the mother to her offspring provides the latter’s temporary barrier, which also affects vaccines.

Nevertheless, to ensure overall protection during the interim, everyone around the newborn should be immunized as well. A Lone Tree pediatrician provides MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccines for both children and adults, as well as vaccines for other diseases. Families should also take other measures to boost immunity like a healthy diet and enough rest.

Despite the high immunity rate vaccines provide, they’re not perfect. When a new strain enters the fray, the current strain in vaccines might prove useless against it. If your child gets sick despite getting their appropriate vaccines, don’t delay a visit to a reputable pediatrician in Lone Tree like Lone Tree Pediatrics. Early detection is paramount in mitigating the effects of diseases.

IMPORTANT: if you think your child might have measles, please let the office know before scheduling so we can properly protect other patients from exposure.

(Source: “Without Vaccinations, Babies Most at Risk of Getting Measles,” ABC7 Los Angeles, February 11, 2015)

About Debra Berry

Dr. Debra Berry is a board-certified pediatrician in Lone Tree, Colorado providing comprehensive pediatric care at Lone Tree Pediatrics. Her primary goal as a physician is to help each of her patients live a healthy life and grow into a happy productive adult.