Measles Outbreak FAQs from Allegro Pediatrics

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May 15

Allegro Pediatrics

Measles Outbreak FAQs from Allegro Pediatrics

by Allegro Pediatrics

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.

Q: What is the recommended MMR vaccine schedule for children?

A: There is a closely-monitored measles outbreak in King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Clark Counties, WA. At this time both our local health department and our group continue to recommend routine MMR vaccination: the first dose at 12-15 months of age, and the second dose between ages 4 and 6 years. In some special situations related to international travel needs, and after consulting with a pediatrician, some infants have received their first MMR dose between 6-12 months, with the understanding that a dose still needs to be given between 12-15 months. If the local risk continues to rise to levels equal to international travel, we will stay in close contact with public health and will communicate if recommendations change.  

Q: Can my child receive the first or second dose of the vaccine early?

A: The providers at Allegro Pediatrics follow the health department and CDC guidelines for all immunization schedules. These guidelines specify that the MMR vaccine schedule is as follows: the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose between ages 4 and 6 years. Our providers will follow these guidelines unless the CDC or health department advise differently. We understand this is the best way to make sure that vaccine is available, for each child in our community, at the right time for the best results in protection. 

Q: How can I protect my child who can’t yet be vaccinated?

A: Babies under 12 months, of vaccinated moms, are protected during their first year by antibodies passed to them during the pregnancy. The best protection for babies after birth is to surround them with a community that is already immune or have been vaccinated. Make sure all household members and everyone caring for your infant on a regular basis is fully immunized. As possible, limit contact for your infant with those that have not been immunized or may not be immune to measles. Parents who were fully vaccinated as children do not need to get a booster. Adults unsure of their vaccine status should contact their primary care provider. 

Q: How can I check on my child’s MMR vaccine status?

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.

Q: I’m worried about sending my children to school with kids that may be unvaccinated. What steps do I need to take?

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. 

If your child attends an affected school district, please stay up to date on their current recommendations.

Q: What signs and symptoms of measles should I be watching for?

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.

  • Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.
  • Measles complications can include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and rarely, encephalitis (brain inflammation). Complications from measles can happen even in healthy people, but those at highest risk include: infants and children under 5 years, adults over 20 years, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems from drugs or underlying disease.

Q: What places should we avoid?

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 locations of potential exposure to measles around the times listed should: 

  • Find out if they have been vaccinated for measles or have had measles previously.
  • Call a health care provider promptly if they develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash between May 13th, 2019 to June 1st, 2019. To avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you want to be evaluated for measles.

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.

Q: Are there helpful resources you’d recommend?

A: Here are some useful links regarding the measles outbreak, including potential exposure locations with timeframes:

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