As one result of dangerous and factually inaccurate anti-vaccination propaganda, measles cases are on the rise. Outbreaks have been observed across the US and around the globe, often directly linked to falling immunization rates. To keep you and your family safe and protected, get educated about the seriousness of this deadly disease and most importantly, get vaccinated.

Measles is a very dangerous and highly contagious viral infection that spreads from person to person. In 2017, measles caused approximately 110,000 deaths. Serious and potentially fatal complications include encephalitis (an infection that leads to swelling of the brain), pneumonia, severe diarrhea and dehydration, and/or permanent disability.

Measles symptoms include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, and rashes on the face and body. If you have any of these symptoms, or believe that you may have been exposed to measles, call your doctor or clinic before going in in orderto limit contagion. A person with measles can spread the disease to others even before they have any symptoms, and the measles virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. While these outbreaks are deeply concerning, the good news is that measles is preventable.

The science on this issue is sound and well-proven: the MMR vaccine is the best defense against measles, and this immunization is safe and effective. Measles deaths have been reduced by 80% since the vaccine was popularized, and when an individual receives both doses of the MMR vaccine they are 97% protected against measles. Despite dangerous misinformation campaigns popularized in the past few years, there is absolutely no evidence that these immunization cause or contribute to conditions such as autism. In fact, there is ample research available proving the efficacy and safety of this vaccine.

There are FREE and low-cost immunizations available for those who are uninsured or underinsured (including an inability to afford your deductible) at Public Health clinics. Visit publichealth.lacounty.gov or call 2-1-1 to find a clinic near you. Most people who have not been immunized against measles will get it if they have contact with the virus.

More people getting immunized against measles means less outbreaks and fewer hospitalizations and/or deaths from this serious but preventable illness. For more information on the MMR vaccine click here.