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Not sure if you've been vaccinated for measles? Here's what to do

Measles outbreak: 11 cases confirmed in Arizona
Posted at 7:43 AM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 09:45:48-04

With an outbreak of the measles happening around the country, a local doctor said now is as good of a time as any to get checked and make sure you're vaccinated.

There have been no cases of the measles reported in Wisconsin as part of the recent outbreak. However, the nasty, viral illness has touched neighboring Illinois.

Dr. Adam King, an internal medicine doctor at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, said there's no cure for the measles.

He said that's why having the vaccine for Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) can be so crucial to staying healthy.

King said measles has a 90% contagion rate - and is commonly passed from one person to another by coughing or sneezing.

Symptoms of the virus include a high fever and itchy eyes.

King said complications from the measles can include brain swelling, pneumonia, and ear and sinus infections.

The State of Wisconsin maintains an immunization registry here where doctors can input vaccines and other information in a patient's medical history. But King noted the registry isn't perfect.

"Depending on how old you are, where you grew up in the state, and whether your physician used it at any point, your information may or may not be in there," King said.

He added the registry won't be helpful to people who grew up in other states or other countries.

So King recommended checking with your pediatrician, as well as old employers or even old schools, to track down medical records and verify that you're vaccinated against MMR.

Doctors can also draw your blood and analyze it to figure out if you've received the vaccine.

While blood work is pricey, King noted patients could also opt to receive an MMR vaccine if they don't know their status.

The doctor said receiving the vaccine a second time would not be harmful.

"The cost of the vaccine will also likely be less expensive and easier than getting the lab work done on your blood," King said.