Cases of measles are on the rise

Nikki Sommer, a nurse with Key West Surgical Group, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM to talk about Medical Matters. 

Measles has come back into the news recently. 

Sommer said, “It’s really kind of alarming, but just to give you background what measles is, you haven’t heard of it in a really long time. It was something that your grandparents and great grandparents might have had. Measles is a viral disease that can cause fever and rash. It is highly contagious. If you’re near somebody that has it, they talk, cough or sneeze near you, and you are not vaccinated, you are most likely going to get measles. You can develop symptoms eight to 12 days after you’re exposed. They start with high fever, tiredness, that kind of barky cough, read or bloodshot eyes, and a runny nose. A few days after the symptoms begin you’ll develop that blotchy rash from your face all the way down to the rest of your body and it can last up to 10 days.”

Measles has to just run its course. 

Sommer said, “It’s a virus so there’s no medication that can take care of it once once you have it. It’s an airborne disease. So no sharing drinks or food with someone with the measles, you can’t kiss anybody if you know they have the measles, shaking hands, holding hands, hugging, touching. For pregnant people it’s it’s very concerning for the unborn baby.”

Cases of measles have been on the rise. 

Sommer said, “Just between December and January, there were cases confirmed in Ohio, two in California. The CDC reported that 23 cases in the United States have been diagnosed between December 1 and January 23. So some people will be like, oh, it’s only 23 cases. But it’s on the rise and they’re worried about it becoming another global threat. Since the beginning of the year cases have been identified in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, California, Missouri, Washington, DC and the state of Washington.”

It’s also being seen across the pond. 

Sommer said, “In the United Kingdom, they had since October 1, there have been 347 cases. That’s already including 127 in January of 2024. So we’re only in February. Between 2022 and 2023, there was 941 cases globally, in 2022 and 42,000 people were infected in 2023.”

Could there be a correlation between this and COVID? 

Sommer said, “So COVID-19, that’s four years ago and it’s kind of like the aftermath of what happened when the world shut down. It wasn’t just the United States, remember, everybody all over the world was shut down. So what did that do? It put kind of like a hiccup in your normal routine scheduled vaccinations for children. So 8,500 schools across the United States, their vaccination rate among kindergarteners is below the recommended threshold of 95%.”

Because a lot of children weren’t vaccinated, we’re seeing an increase in measles. 

Sommer said, “I think they’re really concerned because of travel, everybody’s back to traveling like they did before. So that’s usually where you’re in those tight knit spaces, and somebody may have measles and the signs and symptoms haven’t come up yet, but you’ve now been exposed to it.” 

In the past, measles could be fatal. 

Sommer said, “That’s why years and years and years ago, they came up with vaccinations, ways to prevent this from happening. I remember when I first became a mom and getting your immunizations, there was all that does it cause autism, does it not? Don’t get all the shots at the same time, what brand, what company. All my kids got vaccinated, because to me the risk outweighed what else could be. So over the years, there has been more resistance to vaccinations and I think COVID just putting kind of like a wrench in everybody’s plans, it kind of caused a delay and kids getting back to school, I’m pretty sure schools, we were behind in education, so that was like, yeah, we’ll take your kid without a vaccine because they need to learn.”

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