By Kelly Youngblood
More than 100 measles cases have been confirmed this year, most of them linked to an outbreak at Disneyland in California. And a recent report of five measles cases involving infants at a day care in a Chicago suburb hits even closer to home.
Many parents in the Champaign-Urbana area may be wondering if their child is at risk. The answer is, if they’ve been vaccinated — they are pretty safe.
But what if they are too young to receive the vaccine, or are immuno-compromised?
Although there have been no official recommendations for parents to keep their unvaccinated children at home, Daniel Bronson-Lowe, an Infection Preventionist at Carle Foundation Hospital, said in light of the recent spread of the disease, “It’s a decision that parents have to make for themselves depending on what’s going on in their area.”
“Don’t take them somewhere where people are sick. If there are outbreaks in your daycare facility, (taking your child there) would be something to reconsider,” he said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend all children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Children can receive the second dose earlier as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.
There are no booster shots for measles. The MMR vaccine is a two-dose series — the second dose is given to try to protect anyone who didn’t become immune the first time.
It might also comfort parents to know that according to Illinois State Board of Education records for 2013-14, 98.3 percent of students in both public and non-public schools in Illinois received the MMR vaccine.
If you’re wondering whether your child’s classmates have been vaccinated, here’s information for Champaign County schools in this table Immunization_13-14. This list only refers to the measles vaccine. Please note that we’ve picked out as many Champaign County schools as we could identify, some private schools have similar names and were not identified by location on the state list. If your school is not on the list, check out the list that breaks down the measles immunization status of students at each school in the state.
Bronson-Lowe said Friday the measles vaccine or MMR is one of the “best vaccines that we have.” It’s 95 percent effective with one dose and 98 percent effective with two doses.
Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine. The CDC says one vaccination is enough for an adult who is not at-risk (ie. not a college student, health care personnel, or international traveler.)
Bronson-Lowe said infants 6 months or older can receive the vaccine but it’s not considered a valid dose. Parents would still have to follow the recommended schedule and get another shot at 12 months of age and then a third vaccine between the ages of 4-6 to be fully protected from the disease.
Children under six months of age cannot receive the vaccine. However, Bronson-Lowe said moms who are immune pass on those antibodies to their infants, which largely protects them from the disease for the first several months of their life.
Measles was “eradicated” in the U.S. in 2000 but the virus has been on the uptick over the last couple of years. There were over 600 cases of measles in the U.S. in 2014.