The number of reported measles cases related to the Disneyland outbreak has surged to 102, stretching across 14 states and causing the world to take notice. According to the CDC, the United States last year experienced the most cases of measles—644—since the disease was declared to be eliminated back in 2000. If the number of cases continues at the same rate seen in January, the United States is on pace to reach over 1200 cases this year.

With the significant increase in measles outbreaks, it is important to know the facts. Here are four you should know:

1.   Measles is a common global disease.

Even though the overall number of cases in the United States is relatively low, measles is still common in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Typically the disease is brought back from one of these locations by travelers; therefore, it is important to check your immunization history before any international travel.

2.   The MMR vaccine is most effective when both doses are taken.

Although more than 95% of those vaccinated develop immunities to all three viral diseases after the first dose, a second dose gives immunity to almost everyone who did not respond to the first dose.

3.   Even with a vaccination, you can still get infected.

With the full dosage, the measles vaccine is not still not 100% effective. That means there is still a small chance a person with the vaccination can contract the disease. Practicing good hygiene will reduce even further the chances of getting infected.

4.   There are a number of complications that develop as a result of a measles infection.

In addition to the symptoms, there are common and sometimes severe complications related to measles. These include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death. Children younger than 5 and adults older than 20 are at a greater risk of developing complications.

For more information on how you can prepare for and respond to a measles outbreak, access the Measles section of your portal or contact your Client Services representative.

Marlia Fontaine-Weisse is the Content Manager for Preparis.