Anyone can get measles

Mar 20th, 2019 | By | Category: Health & Fitness

Measles, a highly contagious respiratory virus that causes a distinctive rash and puts virtually everyone at risk, continues to appear in the news in Washington. Clark County, located in southern Washington, is experiencing a measles outbreak with 53 confirmed cases as of Feb. 14. One case has also been reported in King County.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency Jan. 25.

Despite this outbreak, measles is still rare in the United States thanks to the large number of people who have been vaccinated against the virus and are protected.

Measles is spread through the air and causes fever, a runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. It’s a serious disease and can also cause problems such as diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia and permanent brain damage.

The measles virus can remain in the air for several hours, and is so contagious, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that 90 percent of the people close to a person who has it will likely get sick, unless they are immune.

Although often described as a “childhood” disease, anyone can get sick from measles. According to the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all adults, including the 50-and-up age group, should talk to their healthcare professional about whether they might need a measles vaccination. CDC recommends that adults 19 years old to 65-plus get the vaccine unless they’re advised otherwise by a doctor.

Complications are more common in children under five and adults older than 20. Measles can be especially severe in people with weak immune systems.

In severe cases, measles can result in pneumonia, or cause other complications requiring hospitalization. Pregnant women who get measles are at a higher risk for premature labor, miscarriage and low-birth-weight babies.

Source MultiCare Health System