By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
In the wake of the highest number of measles outbreaks in the U.S. in the last 20 years, it is important to make sure you and your children are fully immunized, especially if you are traveling abroad.
|Centers for Disease Control photo
Measles is a virus and is one of the most contagious diseases known. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes and will infect 90 percent of those who are exposed if they are not protected. It starts with a fever, followed by a cough, runny nose and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out, which starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. It can lead to pneumonia, swelling of the brain and death. Of every 1,000 children who get the disease, one or two will die, the CDC says.
As of May 23, measles cases have been reported in 18 states and New York City, with most reported from Ohio (138), California (60), and New York City (26). Ninety percent have been among people who have not been vaccinated or have unknown vaccination status, according to the CDC. Most of the patients report religious, philosophical or personal reasons for avoiding vaccines. Through May 23, no deaths had been reported.