Those of us vaccinated for MMR between 1963 and 1989 may need a booster.
The two dose vaccine wasn’t given until it was recommended by the CDC in 1989. Since then a child receives their MMR at age 12-15 months and then again at 4-6 years of age. However, prior to this, children many times only received one vaccine.
Those who were vaccinated pre 1963, who were afflicted with measles and survived, have life long immunity.
Currently there are over 465 cases of measles being reported in over 19 states. It is unclear how many of these cases have occurred in those who were vaccinated against the virus.
Most cases appear to be in those who weren’t vaccinated but some may be occurring in those who received an MMR vaccine, but are not necessarily immune.
We must also consider that this recent outbreak of measles could be viral strain that is more virulent than previous ones, protected by the MMR vaccine.
What is “measles”?
Measles is caused by the rubeola virus. It is spread by respiratory droplets and is highly contagious. Symptoms appear 10-14 days after exposure and include:
- rash (red, flat and confluent as above)
- dry cough
- runny nose
- sore throat
- Koplik spots – white spots with red backgrounds within the inner cheek in the mouth
Most cases are self-limiting and resolve without sequelae, but some may experience worsening infections, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and even death.
The 2 dose MMR vaccine has been estimated to provide 97% protection against the measles virus.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician