SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

First measles death in U.S. in years

First measles death in U.S. in years | Courtesy of nature.com
The United States has recorded the first death due to measles to occur in several years after a Clallam County, Washington, woman recently died from the illness.

Health professionals maintain that vaccinations are the best method currently available for preventing measles. They state that this case demonstrates the importance of vaccinating as many people as they can in order to protect people against measles. Unfortunately, many times patients who already have compromised immune systems do not receive measles vaccines.

Measles is extremely contagious. The most unique symptom of measles is a rash, but the virus is contagious before the rash develops.

The woman died this past spring. Her measles infection was not found until the autopsy. Experts estimate that she was exposed to the virus through a measles outbreak in Clallam County. She was at a medical facility at the same time as a measles patient who had not yet fully developed the symptoms of the illness.

The woman already had a variety of other health conditions; she was taking medications for a suppressed immune system. Because she did not demonstrate the usual symptoms, like a rash, the measles infection was not detected before she died from pneumonia, which was caused by measles.