Outbreak Update

In 2011, the US saw 222 cases of measles, the highest number in 15 years. Typical incidence is about 100 cases per year. Of these cases, 200 were linked to international travelers and most ocurred in individuals younger than 20 years of age. Measles is very contagious and immunization against the disease remains important.


The Disease

Not everyone recognizes measles as the serious disease it really is, possibly because it used to be a routine part of everyone's childhood, and also because we don't see it nearly as much as we used to. But measles can be deadly. The 10th century Persian physician Rhazes considered measles "more to be dreaded than smallpox." Measles still kills about a million people a year around the world. Measles can also cause a pregnant woman to miscarry or give birth prematurely.


The Immunization

Measles vaccine was licensed in 1963. As children started getting the vaccine, measles quickly began to disappear. Today we see only about a hundred cases a year. Recently, outbreaks in many states have increased that number.


AAP Vaccine Recommendations


Quick Facts - What You Need to Know (PDF)

  • Why get vaccinated?
  • Who should get MMR vaccine and when?
  • Some people should not get MMR vaccine or should wait
  • What are the risks from MMR vaccine?
  • What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?


Other Resources




Last Updated: 7/13/2012


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