This was successfully posted to your pofile.
This box will close automatically in a few seconds. Close this window
We don't have an e-mail address on file for you. To use AAFP Connection, you must have an e-mail address in our records. Click Here
U.S. Measles Cases Reported in 2011 Highest in 15 Years, Says CDC
By News Staff
"There were 72 actual importations from other countries, and nearly half of them were from the European region," said Schuchat. "Most of us don't think of Europe as a place where you can catch an infectious disease, but, recently, there has been a lot of measles in Europe."
- The number of measles outbreaks reported in the United States in 2011 jumped to more than four times the usual number, leading to a 15-year high of 222 people contracting the infectious disease.
- Two factors played key roles in the increased caseload: disease importations related to foreign travel and a rising number of unimmunized people.
- Of the cases reported, 200 were associated with disease importation from other countries.
- Of those infected, 86 percent were not vaccinated against measles or did not know if they were vaccinated.
"It's very important for travelers heading off to Europe to make sure they are up-to-date on their immunizations and to make sure their children are, as well," she said.
A compounding factor was that 86 percent of those infected were not vaccinated against measles or did not know if they were vaccinated. Of the 166 U.S. residents who were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status, 141 people were eligible to receive the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Sixty-six of those individuals were between the ages of 16 months and 19 years, said Schuchat, "when they should have already gotten the vaccine, and when school requirements or daycare requirements would have been good reminders they were eligible and expected to be vaccinated."
National Infant Immunization Week
In addition, two dozen states and U.S. territories will hold various activities to help educate health professionals, parents and caregivers about the importance of immunizing young children. Some locations actually will be offering free immunizations to participants. State-by-state information is available online.
"Unvaccinated people put themselves and other people at risk for measles and its complications," said Schuchat. "They particularly put at risk people who are too young to be vaccinated, who can sometimes have the worst complications from measles. The continuing story of measles is that we're still having importations and disease this year, with more than 25 cases reported so far in 2012, most of them associated with importation."
Schuchat said the CDC continues to strongly recommend that people of all ages keep up-to-date with all of their vaccinations and specifically recommends that children receive two doses of MMR vaccine: the first dose at age 12-15 months and the second dose at age 4-6 years.
"We really think it's important for parents to know the MMR vaccine is safe and very effective," she said. "Measles can be serious, your child can get it, and your child can spread it to people who can't even get the vaccine because they're too young or they have problems like leukemia."