Healthy Living: History matters when it comes to the measles

Measles cases continue to steadily grow across the country, but an outbreak is over in New York City where the most cases developed.  City officials in the Big Apple say no new cases have been reported since mid-July.

That said, more than 650 people have been diagnosed with measles since October 2018, making up a big portion of this year's 12-hundred plus cases.  In Washington State, there have been 86 total cases over the course of two different outbreaks.  Fifteen of those cases were developed locally, in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.  Currently, there is no outbreak in Washington State.

The measles virus was essentially eradicated in 2000, doctors say because most people were vaccinated.  However, history reminds us of how dangerous this virus can be.

"Before the vaccine, measles was really common," said Dr. Drew Oliveira with Regence BlueShield.  "Every school-aged child essentially developed measles at some point in their life."

Dr. Oliveira says there were three to four million cases of the measles in the U.S. every year and many people were hospitalized for pneumonia or inflammation of the brain.

"Getting vaccinated doesn't just protect you and your loved ones, it also helps protect people who cannot get vaccinated," said Dr. Oliveira.  "That includes newborn babies, someone who is undergoing chemotherapy, and people who are immunocompromised."

Doctors say if you don't know your vaccine history, there is no harm in getting the vaccine again.

To learn more about the vaccine and the measles click here.