10 Things to Know About Measles

Here's what you should know about the current measles outbreak in the U.S.

  1. There was a record number of measles cases in the United States in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 644 documented cases across 27 states.
  2. Most of the cases so far in 2015 are part of a large outbreak in California at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim.
  3. Measles is an airborne virus, and people who are infected can be contagious for four days before you see the telltale rash.
  4. The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated. The measles-containing vaccine, called the MMR vaccine, is 99 percent effective, according to the California Department of Public Health.
  5. The vast majority of Americans are vaccinated. Measles vaccines have been available in the United States since 1963, and 95 percent of American children under 18 years old have been vaccinated.
  6. If you were born before 1957, you probably have naturally acquired immunity.
  7. In the year 2000, the CDC said measles was eliminated in the United States. Before the widespread vaccination campaign, between three to four million people got measles each year in the U.S.
  8. Measles is still common in other parts of the world. Outbreaks have occurred in Western Europe, Pakistan, Vietnam and the Philippines in recent years.
  9. About 150,000 people died from measles in 2013, according to the World Health Organization, even though about 84 percent of children worldwide have received at least one dose of the measles vaccine.
  10. The WHO and other organizations hope to eliminate measles from five of six WHO Regions worldwide by 2020.
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