WESTLAKE, Ohio- In just a matter of weeks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the U.S. will hit a new record of measles cases.
Tuesday, area experts stated many adults who were vaccinated against the measles as children may only be partially immune to the highly contagious virus.
“People born between 1963 and 1967 may have received an ineffective vaccine and need a booster dose,” explained Andrew Heffron of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
According to Dr. Tracy Lim of Cleveland Clinic Westlake Pediatrics, people born prior to 1989 may also need a second booster of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine due to a change in vaccine recommendations.
In the past, one dose was advocated compared with two shots doctors recommend for children today.
“Before 1989 it was really common practice just to receive one vaccine before age 13,” said Dr. Lim.
More than 630 measles cases have been confirmed in 22 states according to the CDC. While that number is likely to increase, Dr. Lim advises anyone concerned to consult with a doctor, especially adults in the high-risk population who travel internationally, work with the elderly, in health care or with children.
“It’s probably best for them to talk with their physician and maybe even consider getting measured for immunity. They can do that through a blood test or even receiving a second dose of the MMR to be sure.”
The CDC reports the illness can start with a fever and sore throat followed by a rash that spreads over the body.
The illness, according to Dr. Lim, was nearly eradicated in the U.S. in 2000 but is making an alarming comeback. The CDC confirmed measles outbreaks in areas of New York, New Jersey, California, Washington and Michigan.
“It’s actually very unfortunate that we have these epidemics; these are preventable diseases,” said Dr. Lim.
According to the CDC, there are no Ohio cases of the measles reported, yet Heffron says it likely won’t remain that way for long.
“Proximity is always a concern but we’ve become such a travel society that these diseases are one flight away,” said Heffron.