The majority of measles cases involve unvaccinated people, and the disease is spreading quickest in communities with relatively low vaccination rates.
Andrew Pavia, chief of the division of pediatric infectious disease at University of Utah Health, said he's often asked, "What's the big deal?" about measles because it's just "a childhood disease".
Before the measles vaccine became widely available in the 1960s, about 3 million to 4 million children in the United States contracted measles each year, with 48,000 hospitalizations and 400 to 500 deaths, according to the CDC. Can I get one as an adult? "That means the majority of parents are making sure their children get vaccinated according to CDC's recommended immunization schedule", he noted.
Merck Chief Marketing Officer Mike Nally told Reuters in an interview that the company has upped production but that there has not been a big boost in orders in the USA, even from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It mainly infects children, causing a red spotted rash and fevers as high as 104 degrees, but it can also infect adults.
"I would think the easiest thing to do is to go to a pharmacy", said Weaver.
The increase in cases has reportedly come from unvaccinated travelers bringing the virus back from other countries, coupled with lower USA vaccination rates in the face of opposition from high-profile skeptics who have linked the shots to other conditions, but without any scientific proof. Public notices are often posted asking people if they had visited certain places at certain times the afflicted person visited.
"Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles", said state epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan.
The best way to prevent a measles infection is vaccination.
A New York City resident with a confirmed case of measles may have exposed people at two locations in New Jersey.
Infants ages 6 months to 11 months should receive one dose of the MMR vaccine. Since then, the most measles cases the state has seen is 62 in 1994, with no cases recorded from 2007 to 2012 and zero to two cases per year since then. Many Indiana adults may not be aware of their vaccination status or may have received a single dose of inactive virus, which does not provide the full protection.
"Anyone born before 1957 can be presumed immune and won't need to be vaccinated", he said, adding that for individuals who are unsure of their vaccination status, getting a second inoculation poses no danger. Adults who are at high-risk for exposure, including college students and global travelers, are advised to get two doses. Adults and children over the age of 1 should receive two doses of the measles vaccine at least one month apart prior to travel.