The measles outbreak has hit people living in 22 states, including California, where students at two Los Angeles colleges are dealing with quarantines.
Now doctors are saying that if you were born between 1957 and 1989 the vaccination you got may not guarantee you’re protected against the measles.
Dr. Daniel Lichtmann, a pediatrician with Scripps told NBC7 most people age 62 and older are immune because they already had the measles. 1957 was the year when doctors in the U.S. began immunizing children with a single measles vaccine. It wasn’t until 1989 that doctors realized getting two shots of the vaccine provided a more powerful immunity.
“The first dose is about 93-percent effective at preventing the illness,” explained Lichtmann, who added the second dose boosts your immunity to 97-percent.
The problem is, most adults don’t have their vaccination records. For them, Lichtmann recommends they either get a blood test to check for immunity or simply get another shot of the vaccine.
Lichtmann said getting protected from measles far outweigh any rare side effects.
Lichtmann also recommended people who have international travel plans make sure they have immunity.
Many of the measles outbreaks in the U.S. have been traced to people who got the illness while traveling abroad.
Most people survive the measles which begin with a high fever and then a bumpy, red rash, but in rare cases the disease can lead to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, and even death.
If you think you have the measles, doctors say stay home and call them. Don’t risk infecting others by going to your doctor’s office or a hospital.
For more information on the vaccine visit the website for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.