Measles vaccination remains important


A Wyoming Department of

Health official says increased cases of measles

in some areas of the United States show why

vaccination is important, but extra vaccine

doses or boosters for Wyoming residents are

not needed.

There has not been a reported case of measles

in Wyoming since 2010. However, more

than 700 measles cases, the most since 1994,

have been confirmed across the country this

year by the federal Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention. The majority involved unvaccinated

people.

“Measles should be taken seriously, because

it can sometimes lead to pneumonia, swelling

of the brain known as encephalitis and death,”

said Dr. Alexia Harrist, WDH state health officer

and state epidemiologist.

“We are concerned about the growth in

measles cases across the country, but believe

no new or extra actions are needed in Wyoming

at this point. We want people to follow

the vaccination recommendations that are already

in place,” Harrist said.

Harrist said measles begins in most people

with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and

sore throat, followed by a rash that spreads

over the body.

“Measles is extremely contagious and easily

spreads to others through coughing and sneezing,”

Harrist said. “It is important to be up to

date on vaccinations because anyone who is

not protected against measles, including children

too young to be vaccinated, could become

infected with a serious disease.”

Experts recommend a safe and effective

vaccine that provides protection against three

diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. Children

should get one dose at 12 through 15

months old and then another at age 4 through

age 6.

There are also specific recommendations

for international travel:

• Infants 6 to 11 months old need one dose

of measles vaccine.

• Children 12 months and older need two

doses separated by at least 28 days.

• Teenagers and adults who do not have evidence

of immunity against measles should get

two doses separated by at least 28 days.

Evidence of immunity, or protection from

measles, for adults involves:

• Written proof of one or more doses of a

measles-containing vaccine for adults not at

high risk or two doses for those at high risk.

• Birth before 1957.

• Laboratory evidence of immunity.

• Laboratory confirmation of measles.

Adults who do not have evidence of immunity

and who were born after 1957 should

consider getting at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

Adults at increased risk include college

students, healthcare workers and international

travelers.

More information about measles is available

from the CDC athttps://www.cdc.gov/measles/

index.html.

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