Medical practitioners are reminded that measles is a notifiable disease in Delaware; cases should be reported immediately to the Division of Public Health (DPH) by rapid means (telephone, fax or other electronically). Reporting specifics and forms are available at: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/rptdisease.html. Reports can also be called into the DPH Bureau of Epidemiology by calling (302) 744-1033 or 1-888-295-5156.
The United States is experiencing a high number of reported measles cases in 2011, many of which were acquired during international travel. From January 1 through June 17 this year, 156 confirmed cases of measles were reported to CDC. This is the highest reported number since 1996. Most cases (136) were associated with importations from measles-endemic countries or countries where large outbreaks are occurring. The imported cases involved unvaccinated U.S. residents who recently traveled abroad, unvaccinated visitors to the United States, and people linked to these imported cases. To date, 12 outbreaks (3 or more linked cases) have occurred, accounting for 47% of the 156 cases. Of the total case-patients, 133 (85%) were unvaccinated or had undocumented vaccination status. Of the 139 case-patients who were U.S. residents, 86 (62%) were unvaccinated, 30 (22%) had undocumented vaccination status, 11 (8%) had received 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, 11 (8%) had received 2 doses, and 1 (1%) had received 3 (documented) doses.
Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 due to our high 2-dose measles vaccine coverage, but it is still endemic or large outbreaks are occurring in countries in Europe (including France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Switzerland), Africa, and Asia (including India). The increase in measles cases and outbreaks in the United States this year underscores the ongoing risk of importations, the need for high measles vaccine coverage, and the importance of prompt and appropriate public health response to measles cases and outbreaks.
Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness that is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. After an infected person leaves a location, the virus remains contagious for up to 2 hours on surfaces and in the air. Measles can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis, and death.
* Children 1 through 12 years of age may receive MMRV vaccine for protection against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella; however, MMRV vaccine is currently unavailable.
† Infants who receive a dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should receive 2 more doses of MMR vaccine, the first of which should be administered when the child is 12 through 15 months of age and the second at least 28 days later.
** One of the following is considered evidence of measles immunity for international travelers: 1) birth before 1957, 2) documented administration of 2 doses of live measles virus vaccine (MMR, MMRV, or measles vaccines), 3) laboratory (serologic) proof of immunity, or 4) documentation of physician-diagnosed measles.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.
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