The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a toolkit to help health care professionals respond to measles outbreaks around the country.
The resources come as measles cases this year rose to 764 as of May 3, up 60 from the previous week and the highest since 1994.
The toolkit at https://www.cdc.gov/measles/toolkit/healthcare-providers.html includes resources to help pediatricians talk to families about measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines as well as fact sheets they can share with parents about immunization schedules, potential complications of measles and the risks of not vaccinating.
“These products include accurate, science-based evidence that we hope can help you counter misinformation about measles and MMR vaccine,” the CDC said in a message to the health care community.
About 71% of people who have gotten sick from measles this year have been unvaccinated, 11% were vaccinated and the rest had an unknown status, according to a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The median age of patients is 5 years.
The CDC and the Academy recommend children receive the first routine dose of MMR vaccine at 12-15 months and the second dose at 4-6 years. One dose is about 93% effective, and two doses are about 97% effective.
If children are traveling abroad, infants ages 6 months through 11 months should have one dose of MMR, and children 12 months and older should receive two doses at least 28 days apart, according to the CDC. In outbreak settings, health departments may recommend vaccinating 6- to 11-month-olds. They also may recommend a second dose at least 28 days from the first for children ages 1 through 4 years.
Measles has symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes followed by a rash. It can result in complications like pneumonia, brain damage and deafness and can be fatal.
Cases have been reported in 23 states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
Outbreaks are ongoing in Rockland County, New York; New York City; Michigan; New Jersey; Georgia; Maryland; and three California counties — Los Angeles, Sacramento and Butte.