Philly in High Alert as Measles Cases Surface: Your Guide to Not Becoming a Statistic

MeaslesThis illustration provided a 3D graphic representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle, that was studded with glycoprotein tubercles. (Credit: enters for Disease Control)

PHILADELPHIA, PA — As the City of Brotherly Love battles with a measles outbreak, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health is actively identifying individuals who may have been exposed. This effort follows a handful of confirmed measles cases with reported exposures at multiple locations across the city. Amid these developments, the health department has issued strong recommendations for self-quarantine and vaccines to those exposed to the virus.

Measles, a highly contagious and dangerous virus, can be prevented effectively with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. For those unfamiliar with the vaccine, it is common practice to administer two doses, rendering a 97% effectiveness against the virus. Despite having achieved a commendable vaccination rate of 93% among the city’s children by age six, Philadelphia finds itself in the midst of this medical battle.

The recent hospitalizations of two Philadelphians exposed to measles in a daycare, despite quarantine and exclusion instructions, underscore the need for vigilance. Locations and specific timing of the potential exposures have been identified by the health department, and any individuals present at the listed sites at the specified times are considered at risk.

However, before panic kicks in, it’s important to remember that immunity to measles can indeed exist. Individuals having received both MMR vaccine doses, or those previously infected, are generally immune and needn’t take further action, even if present at the exposure sites. Yet for those uncertain of immunity status, proactive steps are recommended.

Infants under the age of 12-15 months are particularly vulnerable, as they typically haven’t been vaccinated yet. The health department recommends immediate consultation with a healthcare provider for those exposed and uncertain of their immunity status.

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Symptoms of the virus typically appear within a week or two after infection, with identifiable signs including fever, cough, and red eyes. As the disease progresses, more severe symptoms can manifest.

The MMR vaccine, a hero in its own right, is extremely safe and has been in use for many decades. It is recommended that children receive their first MMR vaccine dose between 12 and 15 months of age, with the second dose administered between 4 and 6 years of age. However, if the doses have been missed, it is never too late to catch up.

Remember, when it comes to measles, prevention is key. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated today. Prevention is not just about yourself, it’s about ensuring the health and safety of our beloved Philadelphia. Together, we can make Philly measles-free!

Learn more about the measles virus here.

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