Planning to travel this year? Don't forget to protect yourself from infectious diseases, such as measles.
There are currently measles outbreaks in Israel, Moldova, Madagascar, New Zealand, Kenya, DRC, Benin, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Greece, France, Lebanon, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Thailand, Philippines, Venezuela, Brazil and more. With increasing international travel, visiting a measles affected region, or even an international airport, could result in exposure and subsequent contraction of this dangerous disease.
International travel frequently contributes to measles outbreaks in the U.S. In 2014, 136 confirmed cases occurred in California. Most of these cases were associated with a visit to Disneyland and likely exposure to a foreign traveler. More than half the U.S. states reported measles cases in 2018, and currently there is an escalating outbreak in Washington.
Fortunately, we have the tools in place to prevent measles outbreaks. People who have received the MMR vaccine are highly protected from the virus. Between 2000 and 2017, through major vaccination campaigns, global measles outbreaks and incidents were reduced by 83%. Before the vaccination initiative, 562,000 children died of measles worldwide. During the initiative time frame (2000-2017), global measles deaths decreased by 80%. The old adage that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is as true now as it was when Benjamin Franklin first uttered those words.
Vaccination in Nevada County is the key to preventing future measles outbreaks. For more information on vaccination clinics, contact your primary care provider or the Nevada County Public Health Department at 265-7049.