Things That Matter

After Years Of Hearing Dangerous Falsehoods From Anti-Vaxxers, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Measles

Here’s a fun fact: measles are so contagious that if one person has it, then 90% of nearby people who aren’t immune to it will become infected. Yikes. This is why it’s important to stay up to date with your vaccinations. Considering that the recent rise in measles cases has been linked to people failing to vaccinate, we figured we’d put together a list of facts and photos for those of you who have a morbid curiosity about the measles. 

*Just a warning, though – if you’re as squeamish as we are, you might find these photos graphic.*

1. Once you’re infected with the measles, there’s no cure.

Instagram / @maricel68

Okay, we had to start with the most dramatic fact. Basically, the only way to heal is to let the disease run its course. However, the symptoms can be managed. But, that doesn’t mean that once infected, you’re not contagious – and, of course,  getting the measles can make for one hell of an awful experience.

2. It can take almost two weeks for the disease to develop after being exposed.

Instagram / @staytunednbc

Generally speaking, symptoms appear between 10 to 12 days after being exposed to the virus. So you could think you’re in the clear after being in contact with someone who has the measles, but really, the sneaky sickness is just biding its time. 

3. The measles usually has four initial symptoms.

Instagram / @drlinda.m.d

These initial symptoms include a fever, a cough, a running nose, and inflamed eyes. The infamous measles rash usually starts to appear on the head a few days later, and from there, it spreads.

4. Most of the world’s measles outbreaks are located in Africa.

Instagram / @sfbex

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the most measles cases have been found in Africa, in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Madagascar, and Sudan. That being said, other countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Ukraine have also been pretty badly affected, too.

5. The measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s.

Instagram / @vintagetribune

And the vaccine can be given either as a single immunization, or as a combined dose in a measles-rubella (MR), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine. That’s right: you can get a two-for-one deal like you do at your favorite restaurant! Or four-in-one – if you’re like us and hate having needles stuck in your arm.

6. 7 million people were affected by measles in 2016.

Instagram / @pharmacydaily

Which is wild, considering that global measles deaths actually decreased by over 84 percent between 2000 and 2016.

7. Most deaths from measles happen due to economic and healthcare barriers.

Instagram / @johnshopkinsccp

The fact that anyone’s dying from measles in this day and age is a travesty. But, kids and babies don’t have strong enough immune systems to fight off the disease, and so it’s more common for them to eventually succumb to it. This happens even more so in countries with low per capita incomes and weak healthcare systems.

8. Contracting measles can result in some pretty messed-up complications.

Instagram / @mariwalladermatology

These complications can include blindness; an infection called encephalitis, which causes brain swelling; severe diarrhea and dehydration; and respiratory infections, like pneumonia. These kinds of complications can result in lifelong disabilities and brain damage. Bueno.

9. Measles can be transmitted by fluid from the nose, mouth or throat from infected people.

Instagram / @katehewsonevans

Since it’s an airborne disease, it means that measles can easily be transmitted through coughing sneezing. This is why it’s very important for people who have contracted measles to wear a face mask since that’ll prevent the disease from spreading!

10. The measles goes by a total of five different names.

Instagram / @endtimeheadline

Beyond just the standard “measles” title, it is sometimes called morbilli, rubeola, red measles, and English measles.

11. The measles caused 110,000 deaths in 2017.

Instagram / @mohamed.newsman

Even worse, complications happen in up to a quarter of cases for the measles – and these complications don’t discriminate between low- and high-income countries. 

12. Measles is almost entirely preventable.

Instagram / @lou_volunteer

So even though there’s no cure, two doses of the measles immunization are the best way to protect against the disease – especially since those who don’t have a strong enough immune system to be vaccinated are protected by people who do get the vaccine. However, WHO estimates that at this point, only 85 percent of the population has been vaccinated against it … with only the first dose. For outbreaks to be prevented, 95 percent of the global population needs to get both doses of the vaccine.

13. Cases of the disease have risen by 300 percent worldwide. 

Instagram / @saintjameshealth

This. Is. Wild. 28,124 measles cases were recorded last year … and that’s only the ones that were reported. The Americas have seen an increase in cases by about 60 percent.

14. The first recorded instance of the measles was sometime around the 9th century.

Instagram / @littlelotuspediatrics

A Persian physician, Rhazes, published a book called The Book of Smallpox and Measles.

15. 21 strains of the measles virus have been discovered.

Instagram / @medpage

This basically means that the measles has got 21 different forms that it can take to attack the body.

16. The disease can be seen as a test of sufficient vaccination levels within a population.

Instagram / @lovewhatmatters

This is because measles outbreaks can easily occur in populations that are under-vaccinated. FYI, guys: if a community is affected by a measles outbreak, then it leaves the population at an increased risk for mortality from other diseases for up to two to three years afterward.

17. Measles as an endemic disease was eliminated from the US in 2000.

Instagram / @afshineemrani

The reason why it hasn’t been completely eradicated is that carriers of the disease have traveled into the US, bringing the disease with them. Unvaccinated people then contract measles, making it spread.

18. In 1531, a measles outbreak caused the deaths of half of the population of Honduras.

Instagram / @the_neo_life

Two years beforehand, an outbreak killed two-thirds of natives who had previously survived smallpox. Measles is brutal stuff.

19. As of 2018, measles is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in the world.

Instagram / @vaccines_cause_adults2010

It’s also the leading cause of vaccine-preventable childhood mortalities. Really, guys, prevention is key to fighting this disease.

20. Mothers who have immunity to measles pass on their antibodies to children in the womb.

Instagram / @mentormedicine

Typically, the mothers have to have had contracted the disease to pass on these antibodies. But before you think that this is a good reason to contract measles … these antibodies only kinda-sorta protect newborns from the measles. And, usually, they’re lost within the first nine months of life anyway.

So the moral of the story is: take this article as a reminder to stay up to date with your vaccinations! Was there anything that surprised you about the measles, or are you a hypochondriac who already knows all about it? Tell us about it on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

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As The U.S. Expands Vaccine Eligibility Here’s What You Need To Know

Things That Matter

As The U.S. Expands Vaccine Eligibility Here’s What You Need To Know

Starting today, everyone 16 and older can get in line for the Coronavirus vaccine. This is a huge milestone that has been months in the making after a very ambitious plan by the Biden administration.

But with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still on pause, many have been wondering what the vaccine program will look like – especially since nearly everyone is now eligible to receive a shot in the arm.

As of Monday, anyone 16 and over is technically eligible to receive the Coronavirus vaccine.

On Monday, every state in the U.S. expanded its vaccine eligibility to include all adults over the age of 16, meeting President Biden’s deadline which he established two weeks ago.

The country is now administering 3.2 million doses a day on average, and half of all adults have now received at least one dose. Additionally, 84.3 million people have now been fully vaccinated against the disease. These are truly encouraging figures in the fight against the pandemic but a lot of uncertainty remains.

Ok but can I get a shot?

Technically, yes, anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible for the vaccine but your access to it really varies from state to state.

Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, D.C., were the last to open up eligibility on Monday, after other states expanded access to the general public over the past month.

If the country’s present vaccination rate continues, 70% of the total U.S. population could be vaccinated by June 17 and 90% by July 25, the New York Times has projected. That timeline will likely depend on what happens with Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, however, as distribution is now paused following reports of blood clots, despite being statistically extremely rare.

So, what’s going on with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

On Sunday, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said that he believed the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will likely be lifted on Friday. During interviews on talk shows, Fauci stated that he expected federal health officials to decide on the vaccine’s future by the end of the week and that he did not anticipate the vaccine being permanently banned.

One alternative to banning is to limit who is able to receive the one dose shot, perhaps limiting it to males over the age of 50. This is how Europe adjusted its strategy following similar blood clotting issues with the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which was created using similar methods.

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Mother And Teen Daughter Endured Ten Years Of Separation, A Dramatic Border, And A Covid Hospitalization To Be Together

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Mother And Teen Daughter Endured Ten Years Of Separation, A Dramatic Border, And A Covid Hospitalization To Be Together

Separated from her mother for a decade, seventeen-year-old Cindy (who is only being identified by her first name) took a chance last month to see her. Despite her age, a raging pandemic, and the risks of crossing the Mexico–United States border she journeyed from Honduras to see her mother in New York. Her love for her mother was so deep, she was willing to risk everything.

In her mission, Cindy wound up in U.S. immigration facilities where she contracted Covid-19. After three days in a hospital bed in California, Cindy was finally able to contact her mother who had not learned of her daughter’s hospitalization.

Thanks to the help of a doctor who lent her their phone Cindy was able to make the call to her mother, Maria Ana.

“There are backlogs and delays in communication that are really unacceptable,” Maria Ana’s immigration lawyer Kate Goldfinch, who is also the president of the nonprofit Vecina, explained to NBC.

After learning about her daughter’s COVID-19 hospitalization, Maria Ana feared the worst. “Following weeks of anguish and uncertainty, Maria Ana spent most of her nights painting the bedroom she has fixed for Cindy, just ‘waiting for my girl,'” she explained to NBC.

Last Wednesday night, Maria Ana flew to San Diego to be with her daughter after she’d finally recovered from Covid.

At the emotional mother-daughter reunion, Maria Ana assured her daughter “no one else is going to hurt you.”

After Cindy crossed the border, she spent several days in a detention facility in Texas in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. According to NBC “On any given night, Cindy said, she would share two mattresses with about eight other girls. She could shower only every five days in one of the eight showers the facility had to serve 700 girls.”

“It was really bad,” Cindy told the outlet..

Cindy was among almost 13,350 unaccompanied children left in the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS. This last year has seen over 3,715 unaccompanied children at these facilities diagnosed with Covid-19. Worse, there are currently 528 unaccompanied children who have tested positive for Covid-19 and put in medical isolation.

Now, immigration advocates and families are pressing the U.S. government to pick up reunions of children and their families in the United States. Over 80 percent of unaccompanied minors currently in federal custody have family living in the states. According to Goldfinch, “40 percent have parents in the U.S.”

“So we would think that it would be fairly quick and simple to release a child to their own parent. But because of the chaos of the system, the reunification of these kids with their parents is really frustrating and backlogged,” Goldfinch explained, “most frustrating, of course, for the actual children and their parents.”

While Cindy was in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, no one managed to notify Ana Maria that her daughter was in the hospital according to Goldfinch

“I don’t know why my daughter has to be suffering this way, because it’s not fair. It’s something very sad for me,” Maria Ana explained to NBC

“I’ve already been through a lot,” Cindy went onto share. “But I hope it’s all worth it.”

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