Vaccination is the answerPublished 5:34pm Monday, May 20, 2013
North Carolina is experiencing its first measles outbreak in 20 years.
The first case in this recent outbreak was confirmed April 16. The North Carolina resident started showing symptoms April 4, shortly after returning from a trip to India, according to information released by the North Carolina Department of Public Health.
As of last week, 13 Stokes County resident and nine Orange County residents had been infected. The outbreak may be more than 200 miles away from Beaufort County, but it should serve as a reminder to stay on top of your vaccinations and make sure children are vaccinated.
Measles is a highly infectious viral disease spread the same way as the common cold. It is also preventable. The majority of the people involved in this current outbreak had never been vaccinated with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
Anyone 12 months or older should get vaccinated. Public-health officials also recommend vaccination within 72 hours of exposure to the virus. Those working in the medical field should get two of the vaccinations.
Contracting measles can lead to complications such as bronchitis and, rarely, panencephalitis, a form of progressive encephalitis that is usually fatal. If someone with measles does not recover within several days, it may be wise to consult with a physician to help prevent complications.
If you cannot remember the last time you had a vaccination, it would not hurt to have another one. Well, it might hurt a little.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov, contact the Beaufort County Health Department at 946-1902 or the North Carolina Communicable Disease Branch at 919-733-3419.