Measles study stresses importance of routine vaccination

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Measles study stresses importance of routine vaccination

Measles outbreaks are possible, even in the U.S. Make sure your family is protected.

What happened? Measles is rare in the United States, but a new study stresses the importance of routine measles vaccination.

In 2005, an unvaccinated 17-year-old from Indiana traveled to Romania and unknowingly contracted the measles virus, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. When she returned home, the virus quickly spread. Within six weeks, 34 cases of measles were confirmed — the largest documented measles outbreak in the United States since 1996. Most cases were among children and teenagers ages 5 to 19 who hadn't been vaccinated. More than 70 percent of these children were home-schooled.

The measles outbreak was mostly confined to children whose parents had not consented to vaccination, primarily due to concern about vaccine safety. Researchers concluded that high vaccination levels in the surrounding community and low rates of vaccine failure prevented an epidemic.

What does this mean to you? Measles can be serious — even fatal — for young children, and it can spread easily with international travelers. To make sure your family is protected, ask your doctor about the measles vaccine.

One dose of the vaccine — usually given as a combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) inoculation — is recommended between ages 12 and 15 months, followed by a second dose between ages 3 and 6 years. Immunization is safe for older children and adults as well. Despite concerns about a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism, researchers say there is no association between the vaccine and developmental problems or other damaging effects.

"The MMR vaccine has been used for 40 years with an impressive effectiveness and safety record," says Jay Hoecker, M.D., a pediatrician at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. "In fact, the MMR vaccine has been endorsed worldwide. Routine vaccination for everyone is the best way to prevent the devastating effects of measles, mumps and rubella."

© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version