Measles: Protecting Your Patients

By: AvMed News AvMed News

Measles outbreaks are making headlines again. Measles, once considered to be eradicated in the U.S., can be spread by unvaccinated children and adults.

About 25 percent of those who come down with the measles are hospitalized. For certain populations, like infants under 6 months old and people with compromised immune systems, it can even be deadly.

Unless vaccination coverage is adequately sustained in the population, we will continue to see small outbreaks in the U.S. due to pockets of undervaccination. Those who are vaccinated against measles should not be overly worried about catching the disease, as the vaccine is 97 percent effective.

Are your patients protected? Here’s a quick primer on who and who shouldn’t be vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • The CDC recommends all children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Children can receive the second dose earlier as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.
  • Adults who do not have evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Evidence of immunity is indicated by written documentation of adequate vaccination, laboratory confirmation of past infection, or if they were born before 1957.
  • Seniors generally do not have to be vaccinated, as they’ve likely already been exposed to the infection in the past.

You can find additional CDC recommendations for your patients here.