Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Measles is best known for the skin rash that it causes. Although rare, outbreaks can happen. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about measles in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases known. Once quite common, measles can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine.

Complications from measles are more likely in children younger than 5 years or adults older than 20 years. Ear infections and diarrhea are common. Serious complications include pneumonia and encephalitis. Severe complications can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

Before vaccinations began in 1963, measles infected an estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States each year and caused 500 deaths. The measles vaccine program has been so effective that between 2001 and 2010 there were fewer than 150 cases per year in the United States.

Even though the chance of being infected with measles in the United States is low, being vaccinated is still important. Unvaccinated people who live in or travel to countries where measles is still common can bring the disease into the United States. Outbreaks can then occur in areas where vaccination rates are low.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.