Measles Immunity Suggested Prior to Visiting NYC, Israel, and Ukraine

CDC Revised International Travel Vaccination Guidelines For Children

child riding a toy plane

New vaccination guidelines for children and adults visiting measles outbreak locations has been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

CDC guidelines published on May 13, 2019, say ‘children 6–11 months of age should receive 1 dose of Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to international travel. 

Because the serologic response to the measles component of the MMR vaccine varies among infants 6–11 months of age, children vaccinated before age 12 months should receive 2 additional doses of MMR or the MMR Varicella (MMRV) vaccine on or after the child’s 1st birthday, which is according to the routine recommended schedule.   

Additionally, the CDC says children older than 1 year of age and adults who plan to travel outside the USA, should receive 2 doses of a measles vaccine, separated by at least 28 days. 

Measles is an acute viral illness caused by a virus in the family paramyxovirus, genus Morbillivirus. Measles is characterized by a fever as high as 105°F, malaise, cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis, followed by a maculopapular rash, says the CDC. 

“Benefit of early protection against measles during a period of increased transmission and exposure should be carefully weighed against the potential risk of decreased immune responses following subsequent doses of MMR in infants less than a year,” said the CDC’s Manisha Patel, M.D., M.S. 

These vaccination schedule changes are related to the 2018-2019 worldwide measles outbreak that has been traced to international travelers to countries, such as Israel, the Philippines, and Ukraine. 

As of May 7, 2019, the European Region reported 34,300 measles cases in 42 countries during 2019.

In the USA, the CDC has confirmed 940 individual cases in 26 states from January 1 to May 24, 2019. This is the greatest number of measles cases reported in the USA since 1994. 

Furthermore, the CDC has reported approximately 90 percent of these current measles cases can be traced to under-immunized children, who interacted with an international traveler. 

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New York City is the leading use-case example in the USA.

As of May 24th, NYC has reported 478 measles cases during 2019, all traced to a visitor from Israel in 2018.

Moreover, treating measles is expensive. 

The CDC says the economic burden of controlling measles in healthcare settings amounts to an estimated $19,000 to $114,286 U.S. dollars per case. 

In the USA, most pharmacies offer measles vaccines, such as MMR-II and ProQuad. The monovalent measles vaccine is not available in the USA.

Financial support programs for these measles vaccines and other vaccines can be found at Vaccine Discounts.  

Additionally, the CDC says to check measles travel notices, which can be found at Travel Alerts.

And, pre-travel counseling sessions can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.

Relevant Links: CDC vaccination schedules, CDC vaccine price list, and report vaccine side effects.