Below you will find answers from our doctors to the most common questions we are hearing from patient families regarding the current measles outbreak in Washington State.
A: There is a closely-monitored measles outbreak in Clark County, WA, but currently there is no outbreak (defined as three or more cases) in the counties served by Allegro Pediatrics. Both our local health department and our group recommend routine MMR vaccination: the first dose at 12-15 months of age, and the second dose between ages 4 and 6 years. Although providers may recommend MMR for infants 6-12 months old before international travel, there are no recommendations to vaccinate early if traveling to Clark County.
Although there has been one case of measles identified in the Seattle and King County region, most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low.
A: Make sure everyone in contact with your infant is fully immunized with MMR vaccine. In the United States, kids should get two doses of MMR: the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose between ages 4 and 6 years. Babies under 12 months whose moms are vaccinated pass protection to their fetus during pregnancy. Make sure everyone around the baby has documentation of measles vaccination or immunity to measles.
The measles vaccine is very effective. Adults born after 1956 should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine, unless they have other evidence of immunity. One dose of the MMR vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles. With two doses, effectiveness increases to 97%. High vaccination rates in a community can effectively prevent the spread of measles through “herd immunity.” Parents who were fully vaccinated as children do not need to get a booster. If it is unlikely you received vaccination, or you are uncertain, then consider contacting your primary healthcare provider about checking for immunity against measles.
A: We recommend the routine MMR vaccine booster between ages 4 and 6 years old. At Allegro Pediatrics, we usually recommend this second dose at 4 years old. This aligns with current local public health and CDC recommendations.
A: You can check your child’s vaccine status by speaking with an Allegro nurse, or by sending a message through the patient portal. You may also be able to find this information through the state immunization registry online at WA.MyIR.net.
A: We encourage children and families to maintain their usual routines and activities, including going to school when healthy. As always, we strongly recommend that everyone routinely vaccinate, wash their hands, and maintain healthy eating and sleep habits as a way of caring for yourselves and others.
A: Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.
A: There is currently no recommendation to avoid areas in the Seattle and King County region. Most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low.
However, anyone at King County locations of potential exposure to measles around the times listed should:
The Washington State Department of Health webpage on the current measles outbreak has a comprehensive set of links to local health department pages detailing public locations and timeframes that may be associated with measles exposures in our region (including Oregon and Washington’s Clark County).
A: Here are some useful links regarding the measles outbreak, including potential exposure locations with timeframes: