Do SoCal lupus patients need to worry about measles outbreak?

A recent tweet from a fellow lupie got my attention. It was about lupus and measles.

Tweet about Lupus and Measles

The tweet came soon after a conversation with family about vaccinations. The discussion made me fish out my yellow immunization card (yes, I still have mine). I found that yes, I had been immunized for the measles. In addition, I had just seen my rheumatologist the day before and asked him if I needed to be concerned. He said that as long as I had been immunized, I didn’t have to worry. However it was @lupusladies’s later reply that got me thinking that maybe I needed a second opinion.

Tweet 2 Lupus and Measles

Wait. People who were vaccinated still got the measles? Hmmm, and there is online chatter about the need to have had two measles immunizations. But on my card, I noticed that there is only one entry for the Rubella-Measles-Mumps immunization. Uh-oh. Not only do I want to go to Disneyland but hey, I have lupus which means I have a compromised immune system that makes me more susceptible to catching something. I needed to look into this further.

I don’t watch the news (on purpose), so I wasn’t sure what the latest was. I had heard about the measles outbreak, but I hadn’t put much thought into it. (My naive newbie lupus self!) I did a preliminary check with my aunt who watches the news regularly. She said yes, indeed there had been some cases of people who got the measles but had been vaccinated. I then did a Google news search; yes, people who had been vaccinated once still were contracting the disease (Orange County Register, ABC News, and PBS News). Red flags went up. I decided it was time for that second opinion. I needed to call my primary physician.

I left a message for Dr. L, and he called me back that same day. I shared my concerns. I also quickly threw in my desire to go to Disneyland. I could hear him smiling through the phone. He said that it wasn’t just Disneyland. There have been reports of measles patients in other cities in Los Angeles county not just Orange County (where Disneyland is). He suggested that we get an MMR titer done that next time I get my regular labs done. The MMR titer checks the antibody levels in my system to see whether or not my immune system will be able to respond to an infection from measles, mumps, or rubella. He said if the results show my levels are low then we will move forward with giving me a booster shot. A titer and then maybe a booster shot. Okay, now that makes sense to me. We have a plan.  

As always, I feel much better when I have a plan in place. I am not going to wait until my next round of regular labs to get the titer done. I want to know as soon as possible. I hope all goes well because yes, I want to go to Disneyland in a couple of months. And yes, my lupus body would like to avoid having to deal with another disease. The good news is that Disneyland will always be there. When I do go, I will be sure I am as protected as possible from the measles. Did you get the MMR vaccination as a kid? If so, do you know whether or not you need a booster shot? This is a great opportunity to open up a conversation with your doctor about what you need to keep you as healthy as possible. Special thanks to @lupusladies for prompting me to look further into this. I hope this is helpful to fellow-spoonies out there.

Have you had conversations about measles with your doctors? Do you need a booster? What came of those conversations? Are you doing anything different because of the recent measles outbreak?



2 thoughts on “Do SoCal lupus patients need to worry about measles outbreak?

    • Monica says:

      Hi Susan,
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I would encourage you to reach out to your doctor and speak to him/her over the phone about your situation. The two of you can then decide the best course of action.
      Best wishes for good health!

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