Make Sure You’re Protected Against Measles

(DURANGO, COLO.) Thought to be eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, cases of measles are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2019 is set to have the largest recorded measles cases since 1992. The virus spreads easily through coughing and sneezing and can cause serious illness. Are you planning summer travel and worried about your immunity to measles? Jennifer Rupp, MD, Four Corners Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine, answers common questions surrounding this virus and immunity below.

Am I protected against measles?
The CDC considers a person to be protected from measles if they have written documentation (records) showing at least one of the following:

  • You have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine and are a school-aged child (grades K-12).
  •  A laboratory confirmed that you have had measles at some point in your life.
  • A laboratory confirmed that you are immune to measles.
  • You were born before 1957.

Do I ever need a booster vaccine?
No. CDC considers people who received two doses of measles vaccine as children according to the U.S. vaccination schedule protected for life, and they do not ever need a booster dose. If you’re not sure whether you are fully vaccinated, talk with your doctor.

I am an adult now but only got one does of measles vaccine as a child. Do I need a second dose?
If you were born after 1957 you need at least one dose of measles vaccine unless a laboratory confirmed that you had past measles infection or are immune to measles. Certain adults may need two doses. Adults who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission should make sure they have had two doses separated by at least 28 days. These adults include:

  • Students at post-high school education institutions
  • Health care personnel
  • International travelers
  • People who public health authorities determine are at increased risk for getting measles during a measles outbreak

If you’re not sure whether you are up-to-date on measles vaccine, talk with your doctor.

What should I do if I’m unsure whether I’m immune to measles?
If you’re unsure whether you’re immune to measles, you should first try to find your vaccination records or documentation of measles immunity. If you do not have written documentation of measles immunity, you should get vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Another option is to have a doctor test your blood to determine whether you’re immune. There is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine if you may already be immune to the measles (or mumps or rubella).

For more information, please call 970-764-3810 or visit https://www.centura.org/locations/four-corners-infectious-disease-and-internal-medicine.

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Media Contact
Sarah Silvernail
Mobile: 970-764-3990
SarahSilvernail@Centura.org

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