The United States is going through its largest measles outbreak since the disease was eliminated in 2000, with more than 700 cases in 22 states. There have been no reported cases of the measles in New Mexico, but local experts say that could change any day now.
Nobody’s had the measles in New Mexico since the early 2000's, but UNM doctor Melissa Martinez is certain that folks here are going to get infected.
"Measles will come to New Mexico," Martinez said. "The question is when it comes, will it take off and spread throughout the population or will it be an isolated case of measles?"
Measles is incredibly contagious and it can be fatal for young kids. If somebody who’s infected rides in an elevator and you go in two hours later, that’s enough to get you sick.
One of the main purposes of the measles vaccine is to keep the disease from spreading. Martinez said it’s also really effective.
"The odds are really good that you won’t get measles," she said. "If you get one dose of a measles vaccine, the efficacy is about 93 percent, which is pretty good."
Vaccination is your best bet for staying healthy, Martinez said, but it can also help to remember some tips from your mom: wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough.
Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.