15 years ago, doctors believed that vaccines had finally eradicated measles, and now, US is noting record numbers affected by the disease.
While there are no cases currently observed in Louisiana, doctors believe just one person or a single flight is enough to expose a good percentage of population.
“This country, and other countries, there have been numerous studies and there is no scientific evidence that links autism and MMR vaccine. If we knew one cause, there’d be no more autism,” explained Dr. Patricia M. Granier, the Section Head of Community Pediatrics at Ochsner.
Less than 90 percentage vaccination rate has been observed in Louisiana which is one of the 17 states. If measles hits any individual who isn’t vaccinated against the disease, the resulting impact could be deadly.
“You can see, if measles was introduced in a community, there could be some transmission because there is a lower vaccination rate,” said Dr. Fred Lopez, a Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at LUS Health Sciences Center.
Flu and Ebola viruses are less contagious as compared to the measles virus. Since measles virus is an airborne disease, one person can infect 18 people just by being in the same room. More 18 infected people can spread to 18 more and that’s how it spreads. After the departure of the infected person, the virus can also live on surfaces for two hours, which further increases the concerns regarding its spread.
“It’s (vaccine) saved more lives than anything else we do. Part of your job as a pediatrician is not just to get you better when you’re sick, it’s to prevent you from getting sick,” said Dr. Granier. She tries to educate parents who still believe vaccines are unsafe.
Ninety seven percentage of those who get two MMR shots are protected and the few who are vaccinated and still get the measles have protection too says Dr. Lopez.
“One shot of the vaccine provides 93 percent protection. Two shots, 97 percent. So there’s still going to be a small number of people who, despite being vaccinated, will develop the infection, but they’re likely to develop an infection that’s less severe and less likely to be transmitted to others,” explained Dr. Lopez.
A booster is essential for people born between 1958 and 1989 who have only gotten one measles vaccine. Full protection can be determined with the blood test.