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"Imported" Measles Cases: CDC Urges MMR Vaccine as Young as 6 Months

By Heather Turgeon |

measles and cdc mmr recommendations

MMR recommended as young as 6 months

Cases of the measles virus have been popping up in unvaccinated U.S. children, says the CDC.  Cases have been reported in Massachusetts, New York, California, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

The MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella) is usually given to kids around 12-15-months, although some parents opt out of it. And when kids travel outside the U.S. there is a higher likelihood they will contract measles, bring it back and infect other small kids.

Here’s more about these “imported” cases of measles and what the CDC says we should do about it.

A total of 29 cases were reported in the U.S. in January and February this year, and 28 were “import-associated” (meaning, I assume, that they were contracted while abroad or from someone else who had travelled abroad). Half occurred in children under 2 years old. Since cases of measles have been so rare, many of the kids were slow to be diagnosed.

Because of the frequency of imported measles in kids under 2, the CDC is wondering whether doctors are fully aware of the recommendation that any baby over 6 months traveling abroad be vaccinated for measles. It is urging all parents and doctors to be aware of this and to administer the MMR for those little ones before they travel.

It really brings to light the idea that just because a virus has been “interrupted through vaccinations” (CDC language) in this country, it doesn’t mean our kids are safe from it — people coming and going from this country (coupled with the highly contagious nature of this virus) means that our small kids are still at risk.

Image: flickr

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About Heather Turgeon


Heather Turgeon

Heather Turgeon is currently writing the book The Happy Sleeper (Penguin, 2014). She's a therapist-turned-writer who authors the Science of Kids column for Babble. A northeasterner at heart, Heather lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two little ones. Read bio and latest posts → Read Heather's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “"Imported" Measles Cases: CDC Urges MMR Vaccine as Young as 6 Months

  1. Meagan says:

    Though you say it in the last paragraph, you might want to clarify that you meant eradicated in just the US. Do they even use that word for that? As far as I was aware the only eradicated disease was smallpox. I also thought measles cases had been popping up in the US for the last several years, though I might be wrong.

  2. Cissyrene says:

    I never knew how rare measles were. When I was 11, I got the measles (rubella) while I was living in North Carolina. I hadn’t traveled. I was caught up with all my immunizations and everything. Yet there I was with a sore throat and a 105 fever. It sucked, and I cried. Especially when my mom put me in a bath of cool water. I don’t even remember anything besides using what all was left of my energy to have a complete melt down and fight and refuse to get in. Then nothing… My mom assures me, though, that I was in the tub for ten minutes, and my fever went down a few degrees, negating an ER visit (already had same day doctors visit scheduled for a couple hours away… The bath was the docs idea) They thought I had strep throat so they took a culture and prescribed antibiotics. By the time the culture came back, I’d gotten the measles rash, somehow my mom knew what it was and informed the doctor. He agreed and I had to stay home from school for 2 weeks. I was really miserable for about a week then weak and tired another few days.


  3. Cissyrene says:

    Sorry, I had rubeola, not rubella. Apparentely, there’s quite the difference in severity.

  4. Meagan says:

    Rubella is actually German Measles which is a different disease from measles (and particularly dangerous to fetuses). I’ve never heard of rubeola, but now I’m curious so I’ll have to look it up.

  5. heatherturgeon says:

    @Meagan: I think you’re right – the word “eradicated” has been used a lot with this story but the CDC uses the words “interrupted through vaccination.” Thank you for asking that question – Heather

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