Monday, February 16, 2015

MEASLES: SHOULD I BE WORRIED?

Unless you have been hiding in a cave for the past few months, you are aware of the recent measles outbreak in the U.S., not to mention the controversy over whether or not families should be forced to vaccinate their children.  You probably have your own opinion about that topic, as do many people, but I came across some information that I wanted to share with you.

The Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology (CADE), within the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), publishes a weekly update and the one issued on February 13, 2015 contains a lot of useful information.

Source: Iowa Department of Public Health

EPI Update for Friday, February 13, 2015
Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology (CADE)
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH)


Items for this week’s EPI Update include:
  • MMR vaccination recommendations
  • Measles update
  • Ebola update
  • Meeting announcements and training opportunities

MMR vaccination recommendations
Two doses of MMR are required for elementary and secondary school entry in Iowa. The first dose can be given at 12 months of age and the second dose can be administered as soon as 28 days later (however the second dose is usually administered as part of the kindergarten shots given between 4-6 years of age). Generally, persons who started elementary school in Iowa after 1991 and were up-to-date on all school entry vaccine requirements have received two doses of MMR vaccine.

It is recommended that adults born in 1957 or later receive at least one documented dose of MMR vaccine, or have laboratory confirmation of immunity or disease, in order to be considered fully immunized. It is further recommended for adults in that age category who plan international travel or are students in a post-secondary institution to receive a second dose to be considered fully immunized.

It is assumed that persons born in the U.S. prior to 1957 were likely infected with the measles virus and therefore have presumptive immunity. For adults born prior to 1957, 2 doses of MMR are recommended if they plan to travel internationally.

All healthcare providers, regardless of year of birth, should have 2 documented doses of MMR vaccine, proof of immunity (positive IgG result on serology), or laboratory confirmation of disease.

Killed measles vaccine, or vaccine of unknown type, administered between 1963 and 1967 did not provide long lasting protection and those doses should not count as valid doses. Anyone with doses of measles vaccine documented during that timeframe should be revaccinated.

Vaccination in those who have already had measles or have already received the recommended vaccination is not harmful; it only boosts immunity. Therefore, if someone is unable to verify prior vaccination or history of illness, it would be appropriate to vaccinate the individual.


Measles update
As of today, NO cases of measles have been identified in Iowa. So far this year, 121 confirmed cases of measles have been identified in 17 states and Washington D.C.

Confirmed cases of measles have been identified in states surrounding Iowa including: Illinois (three), Minnesota (one), Nebraska (two), and South Dakota (two). None of the recent cases have reported travel to Iowa during their infectious periods. Nevertheless, public health and hospital partners in Iowa are encouraged to share IDPH measles updates and the information below with local medical providers. For additional information about measles activity in the U.S., visit www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

Please contact IDPH immediately to report all suspected measles cases. To reach IDPH during business hours call 800-362-2736 and after hours call 515-323-4360 (the Iowa State Patrol will contact the person on call).

Ebola update
There are no cases of Ebola in Iowa. No persons in Iowa are being tested for Ebola. This week there are six travelers who are considered to be at “low risk” of Ebola who is under a public health order to self-monitor for symptoms.
IDPH Ebola web page can be found at