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.