PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Now that there’s a confirmed case of measles in Allegheny County, several local doctors’ offices say they’re flooded with calls.
“Our office is in the east end, and the news report has caused some people to be very concerned. And we do have people who would qualify for a vaccination.” The practice of Allegheny Health Networ internist Dr. Brian Lamb near Shadyside has had five adult patients come in Wednesday morning for measles immunization.
The announcement has made AHN pediatrician Dr. Joseph Aracri, busy, too.
“We’ve been receiving a lot of phone calls by concerned parents concerned about whether their child is fully immunized,” he says.
Most people are immunized during childhood.
“The first one is given anywhere between one year and 15 months. And the second one is given four and six years of age,” says Dr. Aracri.
Should adults get a booster? It depends on your birth year, because the older vaccines were only 50 percent effective.
“After 1957 and before 1989, then it would be worth talking to your health care provider about whether you should be revaccinated,” says Dr. Lamb, “People born before 1957 are actually considered to have natural immunity, because measles was so widespread in America before that point.”
The MMR is made with weakened live virus. Once you’re vaccinated, your body fights the virus, and your immune system will prevent future infection.
Blood work can show if you have immunity. If you don’t have antibodies, or if you’ve never been immunized, you can get the two-shot series as an adult.
Measles is spread by sneezing or coughing, but virus particles can linger on objects for a week.
Protect yourself with sanitizing wipes and frequent hand washing.
Symptoms can come on even up to 20 days after exposure.
“High fever, a rash that starts in the face, moves down the body, spots, red spots within the mouth, can be associated with real red eyes, and sneezing,” says Dr. Aracri
If you’ve been exposed to the virus, you don’t need a booster.
“If you were not vaccinated, I would talk to your primary care provider to see what your risks are, and also to consider starting the vaccination series,” says Dr. Lamb.
Death and complications are big concerns.
“Brain injury that can happen later on,” says Dr. Aracri.
The myths and misconceptions can be a constant challenge.
“If they get sick afterwards, they assume they got the disease from the shot, which is not true.”
“Fear of autism being associated with the vaccine, which has been thoroughly disproven.”