Measles is a public health emergency
April 27, 2012
Measles was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, but the importation of the disease from other countries remains a problem. Last year, the CDC reported 222 cases and 17 outbreaks in 31 states—more than four times the usual number. Last year was the worse year for measles in the U.S. in 15 years. The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that the CDC says international visitors and susceptible U.S. residents are being exposed to measles overseas. This rise in the number of cases of this highly contagious disease reinforces the need for vaccination.
People suspected of having measles should be reported immediately to IDPH, CADE at (800) 362-2736 or after hours, (515) 323-4360. CADE will consult on the appropriate emergency confirmatory testing and assist transporting the emergency specimen to the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL); results are typically available within hours. Public health notification and response should not be delayed pending laboratory results, since vaccine/immunoglobulin must be given within days of exposure to protect against disease.
- Susceptible U.S. citizens should be fully vaccinated before traveling overseas.
- Children should be up-to-date on all immunizations.
- Health care providers should remain vigilant for possible measles and act immediately. Misdiagnoses and delays in reporting to public health have resulted in transmission of measles to others in the U.S.
For more information on the report for 2011, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6115a1.htm?s_cid=mm6115a1_w.