caused by a virus that is easily spread. Just being in the
same room with an infected person is enough to catch the
disease. Symptoms include a rash, fever, cough and watery eyes.
Measles causes ear infections in 1 of every 10 children, and pneumonia in as many as 1 in 20 children. About 1 child
in every 10,000 who contract measles will develop encephalitis. This is
an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions
possibly leaving children deaf or developmentally disabled. For every 1,000
children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die as a result.
During the 10
years before the vaccine was available, an average of 530,000
people contracted measles every year. Now, thanks to the measles vaccine,
we see few cases of the disease. However, we shouldn't assume that
our children are safe from measles. In 1989 and 1990, we
saw a large increase in the disease, partly because many parents
didn't have their children immunized. Measles
spreads so easily that any child who has not been fully immunized will
probably get it, either now or later in life.
vaccine is given in the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
series to children and adults or in the MMRV (measles, mups, rubella, varicella) vaccine to children 12 months to 12 years of age.