Before the latest measles outbreak in Washington state, Megan Moore didn’t ask her son Dylan’s caregivers, family members or other people visiting their home about their vaccination status.
“I got really nervous and really scared for my son Dylan because he’s 10 months old so he’s not able to get the vaccine yet,” she told her doctor at UW Medicine.
Health officials on Friday confirmed another case of measles, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 42. The outbreak includes one vaccinated person, though most infected were unvaccinated. That number is expected to since people who were exposed to the disease traveled to Hawaii and Bend, Oregon.
“Measles is very scary, and I think the risk of my little guy here getting that scares me more than asking a friend or family member if they’re vaccinated, or a caregiver, because ultimately I want to protect him,” Moore said. “That’s my number one goal.”
The measles virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The CDC explains that people can get infected if they breathe in the contaminated air or touch a contaminated surface and then touch their eyes, noses or mouths.
“Measles is so contagious that if your child is not vaccinated and is exposed to measles your child will get measles. It’s practically a guarantee- 90 percent.,” Dr. Beth Ebel at UW Medicine said. “Measles is also an infection that when you get it, it also suppresses your immune system and it puts you at risk of other serious infections too.”
Megan Moore wants to make sure her child does not get infected, but he's too young to receive the measles vaccine. The CDC recommends that children receive their first does of the MMR vaccine at 12 months and then a second dose when they’re four years-old.
“I’ve been doing what I can which is to make sure the people around of course all my family members, his caregivers, and the children that we have over to our home are vaccinated,” Moore said.
She’s also already made an appointment for her son’s one-year preventative checkup, so he can get the vaccine as soon as he’s eligible.
“You could prevent this by getting your child vaccinated and talking to people around you. This outbreak in Washington is very serious and people are going to be hospitalized including children so to protect the ones who can’t get it like Dylan here and to protect the rest of us, protect your own child and your own family, please bring you child to be vaccinated,” Dr. Ebel said.