The number of measles cases in the United States has climbed to over 100, and comes on the heels of the worst year for measles in the United States in two decades, federal health officials reported this month.
Although most cases link back to an outbreak from Disneyland in California in December, cases have since been reported in at least 13 other states: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and four people with confirmed measles cases reportedly traveled through Florida in January.
Health officials urge parents whose children are not vaccinated against measles to get them immunized; adults who aren't sure about their vaccination history or who were vaccinated as a child should check with their doctor to determine if a follow-up booster is recommended.
Common among pre-school and school aged children, the highly contagious virus is spread through the air in a cough or sneeze, or with direct contact of fluids from the mouth or nose.
The virus has an 8-12 day incubation period, then cold symptoms usually develop a cough, runny nose, watery inflamed eyes, a high fever develops and the red, brownish blotchy rash covers the body. Children are usually contagious from 1-2 days before symptoms develop to 4-5 days after the rash appears.
In extreme cases pneumonia and/or encephalitis (brain infection) can develop.
If you suspect your child may have measles, contact your pediatrician right away. Treatment at home includes treating an uncomfortably high fever with acetaminophen per your pediatricians’ instructions and keeping the child drinking plenty of fluids.