Measles outbreak hasn't impacted Northern Nevada

RENO, NV (KOLO) Many people think Measles just involves a rash, and patients just get over it. But for every thousand cases of measles, one patient will experience brain swelling, and two patients will die.

Photo: CDC / Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald (MGN)

”Before we had the vaccine, I think we had 400 to 500 deaths per year related to just Measles,” says Dr. Randall Todd with Washoe County Health District.

The vaccine to prevent measles is 97% effective and the two shots give immunity for a lifetime according to Todd.

While the United States has a 97% vaccination rate, there are pockets in this country where rates are not that high. Case in point, a portion of New York, where more than 50% of the 555 cases of Measles are being reported.

“We are declaring a public health emergency. Effective immediately. This will mandate vaccines, for people living in the affected area,” Bill DeBlasio, New York City Mayor, announced late last week, as his city grapples with the Measles outbreak.

Many of the patients in New York were not vaccinated for the measles, some because of fear spread by anti-vaccination groups, so prevalent and troublesome, the World Health Organization lists the movement as one of the top ten health threats.

Dr. Todd says Nevada may not be part of the worst Measles outbreak in 25 years because our state does not have a personal belief exemption for vaccines. But he says it’s not time for local residents to let down their guard.

The health district has alerted local physicians to check with their patients to make sure they are vaccinated.

Later this month at the District Board of Health, Dr. Todd plans on updating members, which includes training of an outbreak response team should an event occur.

The Centers for Disease Control says you are protected against Measles if you have the two doses of Measles vaccine, or if you received one dose and are pre-school age, or are an adult in a non-high-risk setting, or you had measles at one point in your life.

You're also immune if a laboratory confirmation shows you are immune to Measles, or if you were born before 1957.

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