Measles: Are your vaccines up to date?
Measles is a very contagious viral disease that is widespread in many parts of the world. Travelers can bring measles into the United States from any country where measles outbreaks are occurring. Measles cases are increasing internationally, in the United States, and there have been several cases in the Bay Area recently. Read the SFDPH press release regarding notification of possible measles exposures in the SF Bay Area.
Fortunately, measles vaccine is highly effective at preventing the disease and has been routinely recommended in the United States for many years. 97 percent of people who receive two doses of measles vaccine develop lifelong immunity to measles. People who have not been vaccinated are highly likely to get measles if they are exposed to the disease.
Typically, children in the United States get their first dose of measles vaccine beginning at 12 months of age followed by a second dose between ages 4 and 6 years. Make sure that you and your family are up to date on measles vaccine, especially before international travel. Infants aged 6-11 months should receive one early dose of measles vaccine (called MMR) before international travel.
Measles is spread through the air from person to person. Measles can be transmitted when someone with measles coughs or sneezes, and other people breathing the air containing the measles virus can then get measles. Measles begins with a fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, followed by a rash. The rash typically appears first on the face, along the hairline, and behind the ears and then affects the rest of the body. For more information about measles, visit our Measles Information page. The California Department of Public Health Measles Information page has additional information of interest. You can also read about measles cases and outbreaks in the US by visiting the CDC Measles Outbreak page.
Preteens Need Vaccines
Did you know that there are several recommended vaccines that most preteens should receive? By making sure people in this age group are up to date on important immunizations, parents and providers can protect children from dangerous diseases. Vaccines needed at the preteen doctor visit include:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Pertussis (Tdap)
- Influenza (depending on the time of year)
The best place to be vaccinated is at your doctor’s office. If you do not have a medical provider, find out where you can go for drop-in vaccination services in San Francisco.
Please note that one dose of Tdap and two doses of chickenpox vaccine are required for entry into 7th grade starting in July 2019. Also, incoming 7th graders who had personal beliefs exemptions in elementary school or are new admissions need to meet all K-12 immunization admissions requirements as well. Visit our School Immunization Webpage for more details about school immunization requirements.
Pregnant? Get Vaccinated to Protect Your Baby from Pertussis
Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is an easily spread infectious disease. It can cause coughing fits that make it hard to breathe. Young babies can get very sick, very fast if they get pertussis. Vaccination is the best way to prevent pertussis. The pertussis vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap.
- Pregnant women need a Tdap shot during their third trimester of pregnancy (27 – 36 weeks), even if they were vaccinated before pregnancy.
- When the mother gets a Tdap vaccine during pregnancy, it gives the baby immunity (protection) from whooping cough until the baby can get its own shots .
- Women need a Tdap shot each time they are pregnant.
In addition to the pregnancy Tdap dose, babies, adolescents, and adults are all recommended to get pertussis vaccine. Protection from vaccination decreases over time. Talk to your doctor to make sure you and your family are up-to-date on your vaccines. For more information, visit our Pertussis page.