29 August 2015
Measles is an acute viral infection which has been relatively low in number for many years, in large part due to the vaccine protocol recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
We strongly recommend vaccinating your child against the measles
The AAP and its Westchester Health Pediatrics Fellows — your pediatricians — recommend the MMR vaccine for protection against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German Measles). It is recommended that the MMR is administered at 12-15 months of age and again at 4-6 years of age. Two MMR vaccines are required by law by age 7 to remain a student in school.
The measles vaccine DOES NOT cause autism
There is really no significant downside to receiving the MMR vaccine. A small percentage of recipients (5-15%) may have fever and a non-contagious rash for two days, occurring usually one week later.
The issue of the MMR causing ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) is now a non-issue. Many valid studies have refuted the original concern raised by a British physician, Dr. Wakefield. In fact, The Lancet Journal of Medicine officially retracted the study from their journal and its archives in June, 1999.
Symptoms of measles
Measles presents with these symptoms:
- conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- white spots in the mouth (Koplik spots)
- classic pink or red “dotty” rash throughout the body
It can also cause pneumonia or encephalitis. Patients with measles appear to be quite ill and can easily become dehydrated due to lack of desire to eat or drink. I am old enough to have cared for children with this infection during my training, and make no mistake…measles is no joke…it is a serious infection that causes significant illness and in some cases, death.
The best prevention of measles is vaccination
Treatment for the measles is limited to supportive care only…there is no anti-viral medication magic wand.
As far as prevention, vaccination is overwhelmingly the best course of action and strongly recommended. No one should hesitate to protect their children with MMR vaccination, and in so doing, also protect others around them.
Resources for you to learn more about the importance of immunizations:
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Immunization
- Food and Drug Administration
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccines and Immunizations
- National Network for Immunization Information
You might also find these pages helpful from our Westchester Health Pediatrics website: