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Posted on: May 8, 2019

Growing Concern About Measles

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Measles has garnered significant public attention recently as the CDC has identified nine outbreaks — defined as three or more cases —thus far in 2019 in jurisdictions in New York, Michigan, New Jersey, California, Georgia and Maryland. The CDC has linked these outbreaks to travelers who brought measles back from countries such as Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, which are also experiencing large outbreaks.

Although most of the initial cases involve exposure to international travel, the United States is experiencing measles at its highest level since 1994 and since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000, according to the CDC.

Though several states have reported cases, neither Douglas County nor the State of Kansas have had an active case of measles in 2019.

Considering current conditions in the U.S. and abroad, if you are considering or have planned international travel, it is absolutely imperative that all travelers are up to date with MMR vaccination recommendations.

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Measles

The easiest way to protect against the measles is to make sure that you and your family members are current on all recommended vaccines. The MMR vaccine is considered highly effective; 99% of people who receive two doses will develop immunity to measles.

Infants & Children:

  • Two doses of the MMR vaccine given at least 4 weeks apart are recommended for every child 12 months or older.
  • Infants 6-11 months who are traveling internationally are eligible for 1 MMR vaccine. Health officials recommend they receive 2 doses after 12 months, similar to the vaccination schedule for non-traveling children.

Adults:

  • All adults born in or after 1957 should have documented evidence of at least 1 MMR vaccine or documented evidence of immunity.
  • Adults born prior to 1957 are presumed to have immunity.
  • Adults who were born in the 1960s who may have received the killed measles vaccine between 1964 and 1967 should receive a current MMR dose.
  • The CDC recommends the following populations to either have documented evidence of immunity or 2 MMR vaccine doses:
  • Healthcare workers
  • International travelers
  • College or post-secondary education students

Getting the MMR Vaccine

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has the MMR vaccine available for children and adults. If you are concerned about cost of the MMR vaccine for your child, the health department is able to provide the MMR at low cost for eligible clients. 

If you have recently arrived in Douglas County from out of the country and are unsure of your vaccination status, the health department is a safe place to receive the vaccine.

To learn more about the health department hours, visit our website at www.LDChealth.org.

You can also call your primary care doctor to request the MMR vaccine.

To learn more about the measles, visit the CDC website at:  https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html

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