Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000. But it’s back.
According to the CDC, from January 1 to May 10, 2019, 839 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states. This was an increase of 75 cases from the previous week and is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994. (A complete CDC measles toolkit is here
In Massachusetts there has been one confirmed case to date in 2019, out of 87 cases investigated, according to the Department of Public Health (DPH).
In April, DPH’s Divisions of Epidemiology and Immunization put out this Clinical Measles Alert containing guidance for providers. It urges assessing all staff and patient immunity to measles and vaccinating those without evidence of immunity. If a caregiver feels a patient may have measles, promptly isolate the patient, contact your local board of health and DPH (617-983-6800), and obtain specimens for testing. (Boston providers should also contact the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5611.)
Vaccinations are key, and countering false claims about them is necessary. Even though some physicians have reported being harassed by “anti-vaxers,” DPH notes caregivers are in the best position to promote vaccines.
“When it comes to vaccinations, patients and parents trust the expertise and recommendation of their healthcare provider more than anyone or anything else. Explain to patients that measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best protection against measles infection,” according to the April measles alert from DPH.