The number of measles cases in California has reached 50+ according to the California Department of Public Health. While this pales in comparison to the nearly 1000+ cases nationally, factors associated with worsening outbreaks persist. Half of California’s 58 counties have measles immunization rates below the 95% threshold for herd immunity. In some kindergartens, many children still do not have all of their required vaccines.
Measles is extremely contagious. Many of the current cases are related to travelers who have visited countries with higher rates of measles. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention now recommend that infants under 12 months old receive an early extra dose of the MMR vaccine at 6-11 months. Measles is serious; 1 in 4 who contracts measles will be hospitalized. 1-2 of every 1,000 children who become infected will die from respiratory or neurologic complications.
In order to identify early cases, children with one or more common measles symptoms, fever, cough, rhinorrhea, conjunctivitis and rash, are being screened and quarantined in health care and educational facilities. The most important next step for pediatric professionals is to assure that all eligible children in their practices are fully immunized. Health care providers, themselves, have begun to be asked to provide their own evidence of immunity.
Check out these resources: