Addressing the Measles Outbreaks in New York

By: Kerry Fierstein, MD Pediatric Health Associates (Plainview, New York)

Dear Parents & Caregivers,

Measles outbreaks in Brooklyn and Rockland have put public health on the front page of our newspapers. A disease which had been declared eliminated from North America in 2002, is once again scaring parents, doctors and government officials.

Things to know:
-When Measles vaccine rates in a community fall below 95%, measles virus comes back.
-Measles is very contagious and it is difficult to avoid exposure when measles is in the community.
-Children with measles commonly have serious complications.
-There is no treatment for measles, but we can prevent it with the measles vaccine.
-Measles vaccine is safe and effective.
-Measles vaccine is given as part of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) or the MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella.)
-Measles vaccine is recommended at 12 months and again at 4-6 years of age. After the first dose 93% of children are immune to measles. After the second dose 97% of children are immune to the measles.
– The second measles vaccine may be given as soon as 28 days after the first one and still fulfill all school requirements.
-Infants 6-12 months of age who are going into high-risk areas may receive an early dose of vaccine, but would still need two more doses after one year of age.
-There are measles outbreaks in Brooklyn (mostly Williamsburg and Borough Park) and Rockland with isolated cases surrounding those areas. Westchester cases are starting to rise.
-Travel outside of the US is considered high risk.

Things to do:
-Vaccinate your infant for measles on time, at 12-15 months.
-Tell your pediatrician if your child is traveling internationally (or visiting a local area of outbreak.) If the child is 6-12 months, an early MMR should be given. If the child has only had one vaccine, it may make sense to give the second vaccine early.
– Speak out against anti-vaccine propaganda in social media. We can not allow the anti-vaccine minority to drown out well-established science and put our children at risk.

To learn more about the Allied Physicians Group vaccine schedule visit, https://alliedphysiciansgroup.com/what-to-expect/