Many Baby Boomers recall the days when nearly every kid got the measles. Indeed, before 1963, measles was one of the most common childhood diseases in history. In those days, the virus was responsible for around 2.6 million deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization.\nThankfully, in 2000, the American medical community eliminated measles, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why, then, are measles outbreaks making national headlines today? What is measles?\nGood questions. To answer them, we\u2019ll start with the basics.\nTo schedule a well visit to get up-to-date on your kids\u2019 measles vaccination right away, call the Primary Care Center by dialing 412-692-6000.\nWhat Is Measles?\nMeasles is a serious, highly contagious viral infection that attacks the respiratory tract before spreading to other areas of the body. Early symptoms include a high fever, a cough, a runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes.\nBut among the most recognizable effects of measles on the body is the characteristic rash. Most often the telltale rash erupts in the mouth and on the face and neck. It spreads to the limbs, eventually appearing on the hands and feet before subsiding.\nWhat makes this virus so dangerous is its communicability. The CDC has estimated 90 percent of people near an infected person will contract measles.\nWho Is Most at Risk for Measles?\nDeveloping and poverty-stricken countries are most at risk for widespread measles outbreaks. Regions that have suffered disasters or strife also have more cases of measles. In these situations, medical infrastructure is compromised and vaccines are less readily available.\nThose at highest risk here in America are young unvaccinated children and unvaccinated pregnant women. Also of concern are non-immune individuals. This includes people who have not been vaccinated and people who received the vaccine but did not develop immunity.\nMost cases are unknowingly brought home from overseas. When that happens, communities with low vaccination rates are at highest risk.\n What Makes Measles Dangerous?\nMeasles is serious because of common complications. Severe diarrhea can cause dehydration. Pneumonia, blindness, and brain swelling (encephalitis) are among other severe complications of measles. Again, the people in high-risk groups for the virus itself are also at higher risk of serious complications.\nTreatment and Prevention of Measles\nSadly, there\u2019s no cure for measles. Once transmitted, the virus must run its course. Doctors make a diagnosis by observing the effects of measles on the body. Then, they\u2019ll recommend a supportive medical care regimen.\nThis regimen can mitigate the rate and intensity of complications and even save lives.\nThe remarkable fact about today\u2019s headline-making measles outbreaks is that they are entirely preventable. The measles vaccination is simple, inexpensive, and safe. But most importantly, it\u2019s effective.\nFor a specific timetable on when doctors recommend each vaccine, check out the easy-to-understand immunization schedule from UPMC Children\u2019s Hospital of Pittsburgh. To schedule a well visit to get up-to-date on your kids\u2019 measles vaccination right away, call the Primary Care Center by dialing 412-692-6000. You can also catch the bright, colorful Ronald McDonald Medical Care Mobile next time it\u2019s in your area.