6 things you need to know about measles

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FILE – In this March 27, 2019, file photo, a woman receives a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that U.S. measles cases have surged this year, and at this pace will set a record for most illnesses in […]

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – With a measles case in East Tennesse and the number of reported cases nationwide approaching levels not seen in 25 years, it’s time to brush up on measles.

It is a virus public health officials declared eliminated from the United States in 2000 and, despite the recent publicity about measles cases, it is still considered no longer endemic (constantly present), according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

RELATED: Mississippi health officials warn of possible measles exposure by East Tennessee man

Here are six things to know about measles from the CDC:

1) The measles vaccine is effective. One dose of measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses are about 97% effective.

2) That does mean about three out of 100 who get two doses of measles vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus. Experts aren’t sure why.

RELATED: New York outbreaks drive US measles count up to 626

3) The two-shots during childhood is protection for life. No booster shot is needed for adults.

4) Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3-4 million people got measles each year in the United States. And 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles.

5) If you’re unsure whether you’re immune to measles, try to find your vaccination records. if that fails, a  doctor could test your blood.  That takes two doctor’s visits and costs some money. There is no harm in getting another dose of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.

6) The percentage of people nationally vaccinated against measles is 91.1%. The rate, however, varies by state and within states by county. Pockets of unvaccinated people can exist in states with high vaccination coverage.

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