Anti-vaccine messaging spreads rumors and myths as measles outbreak grows

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State health officials are still investigating the Alabama case and if any people were exposed while the child was contagious. Aside from the United States, measles is taking Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia by storm. Getting vaccinated with the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine in two doses is 97% effective in protecting a person from contracting measles. Measles Is A Global Problem According to World Health Organization, reported cases of measles in the first three months of 2019 is 300 percent higher compared to the same period in 2018. Afterward, it can linger in the air for up to two hours.

Complications can range from ear infections and pneumonia to deadly inflammation of the brain.

Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, the CDC reported.

Excepting people who work in health care, most people born before 1957 don't need the vaccine because "before vaccines were available, almost everyone was infected with measles, mumps, and rubella viruses during childhood", the agency says, resulting in lifelong immunity.

Almost 50 people have been diagnosed with the disease in Ireland already this year - with a much larger increase globally.

Pregnant women should contact their doctor about their immune status.

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And, infants ages 6 to 11 months should also receive a dose of a measles vaccine before traveling internationally, since various countries are reporting extensive measles outbreaks.

"Measles is one of the most highly contagious diseases known", said Dr. Julia S. Sammons, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and medical director of the Department of Infection Prevention and Control at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Some people can't get vaccinated at all or need to wait: for example, people with weakened immune systems and babies who are too young to respond to the vaccine.

Recent anti-vaccine campaigns and social media myths have perpetuated what has come to be called the anti-vaxx movement. The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. When viewed in the context of Russia's goal of generating public distrust of government efforts while sewing social discord, the effort has been successful. "It shows me that not only have we eliminated measles, but we've eliminated the memory of measles".

"When Jenny McCarthy [TV actress and the prominent face of the anti-vaxx movement] gets on TV and says 'I'll take the measles every time, ' that tells you something important", says Offit.

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