NEW ORLEANS — If you were born before 1989 are you protected against the measles?
The number of cases in the U.S. this year have reached their highest level in two decades, with more than 600 people getting the measles this year.
For the latest information about this highly contagious virus Eyewitness News turned to infectious disease specialist Dr. Fred Lopez of LSU Health Sciences Center.
Let's start with the current recommendations.
Since 1989, children get one dose around their first birthdays, and a second around preschool. The first gives a person a 93 percent chance of immunity. The second dose raises immunity to 97 percent. That three percent may still get sick, but it won't be as serious.
Now let's turn to people born between between 1957 and 1988. You most likely got one dose of the measles vaccine. Remember, that means 93 percent protected. You don't need to get a second vaccine, but you can get one if you want. For high risk people, you should go get that second vaccine.
So who is high risk? Healthcare workers, those with young children, students living in close quarters, like college, people who travel internationally and anyone living in an area where there is a measles outbreak.
And finally, if you were born before 1957, it is presumed that you got the wild measles and have immunity and don't need a vaccine. That is unless you are a healthcare worker.
Doctors know this vaccine works. Before it came on the market, each year in the U.S. 549,000 people got the measles, killing 500 people.
If you want to know exactly how much immunity you have, you can get a blood test, but it may be less expensive just to get a vaccine.
So far, there are no measles reported in Louisiana.