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Below you will find answers from our doctors to the most common questions regarding measles.

What is the recommended MMR vaccine schedule for children?

The local health department and the pediatricians at Allegro continue to recommend routine MMR vaccination: the first dose at 12 months of age, and the second dose at 4 years old. Visit our Immunizations page to view the recommended vaccination schedule.

Wasn’t measles eliminated?

In 2000, the United States declared measles eradicated because we had not seen any cases for more than 12 months. This means that most of us have not worried about measles for the past twenty years. Unfortunately, we are experiencing a global resurgence. In 2023, measles cases rose 79% (9 million) and measles deaths rose 43% (136,000), mostly among children. We live in a global society so continue to see increases in the U.S. Since the start of 2024, there have been 167 reported cases in 24 states, including Washington.

Isn’t my child protected from herd immunity?

Not anymore. Too many families have not yet vaccinated their children, so Washington state vaccination rates have now fallen below the herd immunity protection levels. Community vaccination rates must be above 95% for herd immunity to occur, in which it is difficult for the measles virus to spread beyond the few unvaccinated individuals who are initially exposed.

How could my child catch measles?

Measles is spread through droplets in the air that can last up to two hours after an infected person has left a room. It is among the most contagious viruses that exist, causing 9 of 10 unvaccinated people who are exposed to get sick. The incubation period is 21 days, so people can pass along the germ before they develop symptoms.

What symptoms does measles cause?

Most people develop fever first. This is followed by a cough, runny nose, fatigue, and red eyes. Some people get diarrhea. Finally, a rash develops starting at the head and spreading downward to the rest of the body.

Why the fuss?

While most people experience a few weeks of illness with the cough usually lasting 10 days and the rash a week, it can cause serious health complications such as infection/inflammation of the lungs, eyes, heart, and nervous system. Measles can trigger autoimmune disorders and death.

What treatments exist for measles?

No antiviral medication exists to treat measles.

How can I protect my family?

The MMR vaccine is safe and effective. The measles virus is very stable (unlike flu or COVID that mutate frequently), so immunity is for life. Routine vaccination should occur at 12 months of age with one booster at 4 years old.

Can my child receive the first or second dose of MMR early?

Due to the global resurgence of measles, infants 6-11 months who travel to any country outside the U.S. should get an extra dose of MMR. At this age, the protection will wear off and your child will still need two doses starting at 12 months, but you will be able to lower your child’s risk during travel. Likewise, if your child is 13 months or older and traveling outside the U.S. and it has been > 4 weeks since their first dose of MMR, it is recommended to receive the booster dose early to protect against the higher risk of being exposed. This booster dose will not need to be repeated. If your family is not traveling, an early dose is not recommended.

Does MMR cause autism?

This myth has been thoroughly debunked through many research trials. Evidence Shows Vaccines Unrelated to Autism. Furthermore, it has been revealed that the person who started this controversy was financially motivated and has been banned from practice in the UK.

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

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 through vaccination. 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.

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

You can check your child’s vaccine status by sending a message through the patient portal, or by speaking with an Allegro nurse. You may also find this information through the state immunization registry online at MyIRMobile.com.

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

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. 

Washington state law requires school age children to receive specific immunizations, including MMR, in order to attend school. 


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