Unless someone likes fevers and itchy rashes, measles probably isn’t the illness for the general public. California’s no stranger to the highly-contagious virus. 58 cases were reported in a four-month span last year, the highest number the state has seen since 1995.
Patrons of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure were not immune, with a total of 14 people reporting cases of the measles in mid-December. “First symptoms are runny nose, sore throat, red eyes, photophobia meaning that light hurts your eyes,” said Dr. David Neumann from Eisenhower Medical Center. “And by the time you have those symptoms, you’ve already had four days to expose family members and other people you are in close contact with.”
The disease is spread through respiratory droplets like sneezing and coughing. It is uncomfortable, but rarely deadly, especially for infants. “Could a young baby be adversely impacted by this? The answer again is no because the baby has passive immunity for almost six months from the mother,” said Neumann. “And if you get a vaccination during the time of passive immunity is present, the vaccination will not take.”
Doctors recommend the first immunization shot should be between 12 and 18 months and the second not till just before high school. But in the unlikely event a person contracts the measles, they’ll just have to uncomfortably wait it out and let the disease run its course.
Thimerosal, a mercury-containing compound, is no longer used as a preservative for the vaccinations, so parents should rest easy for possibly putting their children at risk. But they shouldn’t hesitate to go to a family doctor to get vaccinated. Then, people can itch when they want to instead of because of the measly measles.