By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Sun, 03/01/2015
With reports of increasing outbreaks of measles cases in the news, people are wondering how and why this is happening and how to protect themselves from contracting the virus. Measles has been an identified disease for centuries and has required mandatory reporting by healthcare providers in the United States since the early 1900’s. Back then, millions of people were infected each year. Since the discovery of the measles vaccine in 1963, documented cases in the United States were drastically reduced by 80% by the 1980s, and the disease was declared eliminated from this country by 2000.
What are the Measles?
The measles virus is extremely contagious and is spread through sneezing and coughing. It can stay alive in the air or on surfaces for up to two hours after an infected person sneezes or coughs. Individuals who are in a measles contaminated area and are not vaccinated are at an extremely high risk of contracting the illness.
Initial symptoms of measles present within seven to fourteen days of exposure to the virus and can include red, watery eyes, runny nose, cough and high fever. Within a few days, these symptoms are followed by small white spots in the mouth and the classic rash of flat red bumps over the entire body. People infected with Measles are contagious from four days before the rash appears to four days after.
How to Stay Safe
Measles still occurs more commonly in other parts of the world and international travelers who are not vaccinated may bring the virus into the U.S. Other people who choose not to be vaccinated or forget to be vaccinated have an influence in the increase in incidence of measles cases.
The measles vaccine is extremely effective and people that have had two doses according to the United States vaccination recommendations are considered protected for life and do not require any boosters. If you are unsure if you have been vaccinated for Measles, visit with your doctor about your options. It is not unsafe to get an additional measles booster if you may already have immunity to the virus. As a patient on warfarin, you may wonder if the vaccine affects your INR. Currently there have been no known interactions between warfarin and the measles virus vaccine.2 However, you should always consult your physician about any vaccine you plan to take.
Interested in learning more? Check out these related articles:
- Pneumonia and Warfarin
- Flu Shots and Your INR
- The Flu and Your INR
- Over-the-Counter Medications
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 3, 2014. Measles (Rubeola). Retrieved from CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/signs-symptoms.html.
- 2015. Drug Interactions Between Coumadin and Measles Virus Vaccine/Mumps Virus Vaccine/Rubella Virus Vaccine. Drugs.com. Retrieved from the website: http://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/coumadin-with-measles-virus-vaccine-mumps-virus-vaccine-rubella-virus-vaccine-2311-1529-1532-0.html.