Health officials are still trying to determine the severity of a recent measles case reported on Oahu. An 11-month-old baby contracted the disease during a recent trip to the Philippines.
This case is causing concern because the child was exposed to a number of passengers during his flight from the Philippines and during his layover in Guam. He also went to two doctor’s offices and two emergency rooms before being diagnosed.
The baby, who contracted measles in the Philippines, was not protected against the disease because he wasn’t old enough. “You have to be 12 months. The first dose is usually between 12 and 15 months,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.
When a child is between the ages of four and six, they should receive a booster, or second dose. Some parents are getting the vaccination a little sooner than planned, in light of this recent case.
“One parent, one child is coming in this afternoon, earlier than they were scheduled to get the vaccine, and they’re going to come back again next week for their actual checkup,” said Dr. Daniel Buehler, a pediatrician.
Measles is highly contagious, even more than the flu. So pediatricians are encouraging parents to vaccinate their children, but some families decide against it.
“The concern with vaccines is… the potential relationship with autism,” said Dr. Kalani Brady with the John A. Burns School of Medicine. “And there has never been a single study showing a vaccine relationship with autism.”
The vaccine wasn’t created until the late 1950s, so those born before then have built up an immunity against it. “If you were born before 1957 or 1958, you were likely exposed to measles during your early infant years,” Dr. Brady said.
If you think you or your child may have the measles, contact your doctor. Symptoms include rash, fever, and a cough.
“Stay away from anyone who’s sick and hopefully someone who’s sick enough where they may have measles or something more serious, will stay home,” Dr. Buehler said.
Dr. Buehler says the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, but he says it’s much better than not getting one at all.
The incubation period of measles is two to three weeks. If anyone contract the measles from the baby who was infected, they will develop symptoms by the end of this month.