Friday, April 8, 2011

CDC urges measles vaccine for children traveling abroad

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans traveling or living abroad with their children to be sure the kids are vaccinated against measles, even those as young as 6 months.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. But cases are still turning up among Americans — especially unvaccinated children — returning from overseas travel.
The CDC said Thursday that 29 Americans came down with measles in the U.S. in January and February, seven of them young children. All had traveled abroad. Four children had to be hospitalized.

The disease is highly contagious. The virus is spread by coughing or sneezing, and remains viable in the air for up to two hours.

An estimated 30 million to 40 million cases still occur worldwide each year, with more than 730,000 deaths. It is the fifth most common cause of death worldwide among children younger than 5 years, said Dr. Lucy E. Wilson, a medical epidemiologist at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Measles typically produces high fever, runny nose, cough, and red and watery eyes, followed by a body rash. Severe cases can lead to pneumonia or encephalitis. One or two cases in a thousand are fatal, Wilson said.

"It can be contagious for four days before the rash appears," she said. Travelers can be exposed without realizing it. "And it is highly contagious. There are many cases in the literature of patients contracting the illness in an airport terminal or a hotel."

It's important for parents who are traveling outside the country and who have children either below the age of vaccination [1 year] or who have not completed their vaccinations to discuss with their pediatrician whether the child is eligible to complete the vaccinations or to get vaccinated at an earlier age," Wilson said.

April 07, 2011|By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun

1 comment:

  1. Having a measles is quite difficult to bear especially to mommies who were pregnant an under that kind of disease. It is vital to got injected for measles because it doesn't only protects your body but also other people. Making this disease not so epidemic.