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Health Team

Researchers discover more about measles vaccine

Posted November 2

The measles vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1963, but researchers have recently discovered new information on the disease and how to treat it.

“Originally, it was thought SSPE was very rare and we thought it occurred in 1 in about 100,000 cases,” said Dr. Samuel Katz, a pediatrician and virologist at Duke University.

Researchers found the SSPE rate is actually a complication of 1 in 609 measles cases.

It's recommended that children get their first dose of the measles vaccine between 9 and 12 months of age and a second dose by age 4 or 5.

Katz said measles is probably the most easily transmitted virus from an infected individual.

“But if the individual has measles, there are droplets that they excrete which may last for another hour or two in that room,” Katz said. “So that you may come in that room an hour or two after that person has left. And if you're not immune, you catch the measles.”

Katz said the cases are typically imported from other countries where immunization for things like measles and other vaccines are not widely provided.

Some parents fear side effects of vaccines and even keep their children out of public schools where the vaccine is required. Katz mentioned an outbreak in Ohio, where some unvaccinated Amish people returned from a visit to the Philippines and began spreading it to others in their community.

Knowing that complications from measles are not as rare as initially thought emphasizes the importance of vaccination.

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