"Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease that can spread quickly, so if you or your child are not vaccinated against the disease and you were at the Tucson International Airport, there is a risk of getting measles", Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said in a news release. However, the spiking measles cases across the country still have local health officials and workers anxious. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the US since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
Measles is spread by coughing or sneezing, and someone can spread the virus for four days before the telltale rash appears, warned Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health.
There is no specific treatment for the measles, though doctors can treat symptoms such as fevers.
Children 12 months and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days.
"From 1960-1968, they might have gotten a vaccine that wasn't as effective as the vaccine that we have now", Martinez said.
In 1989, both the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (www.cdc.gov) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (pediatrics.aappublications.org) revised their immunization schedules to recommend that all school-age children receive a second dose of measles-containing vaccine.
People who were born before 1957 or have already had measles are likely safe. "Without immunity, we would see 90 people out of 100 exposed get infected from that one person".
Bermuda's public health sector is on a "guarded level" of alert due to the ongoing occurrences of measles overseas, and although no cases of measles have been reported in Bermuda since 1990, the threat of a case being imported to the island remains, and residents are advised to know their immune status and be vaccinated against measles.
Adults with compromised immune systems unable to get the shot should ensure that family and close contacts get two doses. Adults vaccinated prior to 1968 with an inactivated measles vaccine or an unknown vaccine should be revaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England, told TheFestivals: "it's not too late for people who have missed out, they can still go to their GP to get vaccinated".
I had measles. Do I need a vaccine?
She said complications can arise from measles, as well as mumps and rubella, that can be life-threatening.
The CDC says 9 out of 10 unvaccinated people will contract measles if exposed to the virus.