In response to a second case of measles confirmed in Pikesville, the Baltimore County Department of Health is holding a free MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination clinic today, Wednesday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bais Yaakov School for Girls, 6302 Smith Ave., Baltimore, MD 21209.
The clinic is for adults (born after 1957) who have received one or less MMR vaccines. Attendees are asked to bring records of previous MMR vaccines with them to the clinic.
However, people who are feeling sick, have a fever, or are feeling ill should discuss the vaccine with their physician and not attend the clinic. The health department is urging people to help stop the spread of measles in the Baltimore-area community.
Measles, which is highly contagious and spreads quickly, has caused outbreaks in close-knit communities, including some haredi communities in New York. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to Maryland, states that have reported measles cases are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington. The CDC reports 555 cases nationwide, “the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000.” (The high was 667 cases in 2014.)
“These outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring,” the CDC said. “Make sure you are vaccinated against measles before traveling internationally.”
According to the CDC: “Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles starts with fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.
Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.
The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.”