State urges precautions as nation suffers worst year for measles since 1994
Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment advises people who are traveling abroad, or to areas in the U.S. with ongoing measles outbreaks (three or more cases), to ensure they are protected against this highly contagious illness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 10 ongoing outbreaks in California, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The outbreaks are linked to individuals who had recently traveled to countries like Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, which are also currently experiencing large-scale outbreaks.
Although the State of Colorado has reported only one case of measles, the country has seen more measles infections this year than any year since 1994, with 839 confirmed cases as of May 10.
With measles outbreaks across the country, it’s a good idea to check vaccination records to ensure protection.
“It’s essential to know your vaccination or immunity status if you are planning to travel to areas where measles outbreaks have been reported,” state communicable disease epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. “Measles, once considered eliminated in the U.S., has made a comeback. As you make your plans for travel, ensure checking vaccination records is on your list. We encourage everyone, regardless of travel, to be up to date on all recommended vaccines.”
Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and many retail pharmacies. People can check vaccinefinder.org to find a retail location. People who need help paying for vaccinations should contact their local public health department.
Children should get two doses of measles-containing vaccine (either MMR or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella), one at 12-15 months and a second at 4-6 years.
While two doses of vaccine is highly effective in preventing disease, the measles virus is extremely contagious. Every year, in every community, 92-95% vaccination coverage with two doses of vaccine is needed to prevent outbreaks.
The full article is available in our e-Edition. Click here to subscribe.