Public Health Emerging Issues – February 11, 2019

MEASLES IMMUNIZATION PROTECTS RESIDENTS AS NATION, WORLD SEE A RESURGENCE OF THE DISEASE

  • Cases of measles are being reported across the United States and throughout the world.
    • Mesa County hasn’t seen a case of measles since reporting began in 2000, but Colorado has had one reported case of measles each year in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and now a case in January, 2019. Cases of measles continue to be reported across the nation.
    • Although measles immunization rates have remained stable since 1994, pockets of unimmunized people exist throughout the nation, making it easier for this highly contagious disease to spread.
    • Measles is often brought back to the United States after people spend time travelling internationally to places where immunization rates are low.
  • Signs and symptoms of measles usually appear between 7 and 14 days after a person is infected and include high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.
    • Later symptoms include: tiny white spots inside of the mouth and a flat red rash that starts at the top of the body and works its way down.
  • Immunization against measles is the best way to prevent the spread of this illness.
    • Children need two doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) immunization:
      • One dose between 12 and 15 months of age, and
      • Another dose between 4 and 6 years of age.
      • Children younger than five years are at higher risk for serious complications related to measles, including death.
      • One in ten Mesa County Valley School District 51 students aren’t immunized against MMR.
        • In order to prevent outbreaks, it’s important for at least 93 percent of a population to be immunized; in this case, only 90 percent are immunized, making it easier for measles to spread.
          • In Mesa County, 63 percent of elementary schools, 88 percent of middle schools, 100 percent of high schools, and 50 percent of alternative schools have at least 93 percent of students up-to-date on MMR vaccine.
    • Adults who were immunized prior to 1968 with either inactivated measles vaccine or measles vaccine of an unknown type should be re-immunized.
      • Talk to your health care provider for guidance if you’re unsure if you need to be re-immunized.
    • Adults born before 1957 are considered to be immune to measles.
    • People travelling internationally should contact Mesa County Public Health to talk about travel immunizations ahead of their trip to make sure they are protected against all diseases that are prevalent in the area they intend to travel.
  • Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) offers MMR vaccine. We serve all patients regardless of ability to pay and can help residents figure out which vaccines they need. Call (970) 248-6900 to make an appointment.

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