Pre-travel Vaccine Consultations Should Include Measles

MMR vaccination delivers immunization for international travelers prior to departure

One method to protect Americans against the spread of measles is to limit its entry into the United States by international travelers, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This recommendation includes U.S.A. citizens.

In today’s ever-moving, global culture, a new study found that more than half the measles cases imported to the U.S. are from adult travelers who were not immune to the disease prior to traveling abroad.

Of U.S. adult travelers who presented for pre-travel consultation, 16 percent met criteria for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination, but fewer than 50 percent of these travelers were vaccinated.

The American Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all U.S. international travelers be immune to measles before departure in order to limit the importation of the disease into the U.S.

Immunity is achieved by receiving two lifetime doses of the MMR vaccine, with additional markers of immunity including a positive measles serology or physician documented history of measles illness, according to the study.

The CDC estimates that 146,000 people around the world will die from measles each year, mostly children.

Emily P. Hyle, MD, MSc, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of the ACIP report said “We hope that our study will raise awareness of the ACIP recommendation that all U.S. residents be immune to measles prior to international travel.”

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“Providers who see patients prior to travel should be asking about past MMR vaccinations and recommending MMR vaccination to non-immune travelers who are eligible for the MMR vaccine,” said Dr. Hyle.

“It is important for patients to know whether or not they need to be vaccinated. Your pharmacist and doctor are great resources, so I encourage everyone to reach out to them if you have questions,’ said Rannon Ching, Pharm.D, a vaccine specialist at Tarrytown Pharmacy in Austin, Texas.

“Getting immunized goes a long way to help keep Measles at bay at home and abroad,” said Ching.

This interactive map highlights global outbreaks of measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and whooping cough from 2008-2017. These diseases are easily prevented by vaccines.

In the USA, Merck is the manufacturer of two mumps vaccinations. MMR and ProQuad both contain the protection for mumps, as well as protection for measles and rubella.

The ProQuad vaccine is indicated for active immunization for the prevention of measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella in children 12 months through 12 years of age.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector vaccine prices for general information.

Most pharmacies offer the MMR vaccine, and vaccine discounts can be found at this webpage.