NEW HYDE PARK, NY – Cases of measles that are believed to have started at Disneyland in California show the importance of having vaccinations and immunity from diseases such as the measles.
“Adherence to the routine vaccination schedule for infants and children is very important,” says Lorry Rubin, MD, director of pediatric infectious diseases at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park. “In particular, the measles vaccine is very important because it’s a very severe disease. The average case of an adult or a child who gets measles is a really sick patient who has fever for many days, is in bed sick, and an important possibility is complications, for example, one in 1,000 people can get encephalitis and that often causes permanent brain damage.”
With every health decision, as in most decisions in life, there are risks and rewards; vaccines have a very high benefit to risk ratio, Dr. Rubin says. The measles, mumps, rubella vaccine has been thoroughly studied across the world and is not associated with the development of autism, he said.
For those who are concerned about catching the measles, early symptoms of the disease mimic a bad cold, Dr. Rubin says. Symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Dry cough
“To get full immunity or reliable immunity to measles, it’s recommended that the two doses of the MMR vaccine have been received,” Dr. Rubin says. “Most typically, it’s 12 to 15 months of age when the first dose is given and four to six years when the second dose is given.”
People can still get the vaccine other than at these times in their lives.