CDC clarifies adult MMR vaccine recommendations


A total of 387 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 15 states from January 1 to March 28, 2019, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) says they are continuing to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate potential cases of measles in the state. There are more than 30 open investigations and currently only one presumptive positive measles case in Alabama.

This presumptive positive case is in an infant in St. Clair County. ADPH says the child was not in daycare and did not travel out of state. Their investigation is ongoing and additional testing is being done.

ADPH received clarification from the CDC on Friday that provides recommendations for adult vaccine as follows: One dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) or other presumptive immunity is sufficient protection for most U.S. adults born on or after 1957.

Other presumptive evidence of measles immunity includes:

  • Born before 1957
  • Laboratory evidence of immunity
  • Laboratory confirmation of disease

Certain adults are considered at high risk and need two doses of MMR, each dose separated by at least 28 days, unless they have other presumptive evidence of measles immunity, as listed above.

These adults include:

  • Students at post-high school educational institutions
  • Healthcare personnel
  • International travelers

CDC clarification of vaccine recommendations:

  • There is no recommendation for an adult catch-up program for persons born before 1989.
  • There is no recommendation for vaccination campaigns among adults or individuals in non-affected areas to prevent measles outbreaks.

At this time, the ADPH continues to recommend that infants and children be vaccinated at 12 months and 4 years of age.  From the time a person is exposed to measles, it can take 7-21 days for signs and symptoms to occur, with an average of 10-14 days. People are contagious from four days before the rash develops until four days afterward.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of measles that occur before the rash. Patients develop fever, sometimes as high as 105 degrees, followed by cough, runny nose, and red eyes (conjunctivitis).  Anywhere from 1-7 days after these symptoms begin, the rash develops.  The rash starts on the face and spreads across the body.  Patients may also have small white spots on the inside of the mouth on the cheek which may occur from 2 days before and up to 2 days after the rash.

For every single case of measles disease, 12-18 additional cases can be expected. The complication rate from measles is about 20-30 percent, especially in infants, children less than 5 years of age, and persons 20 years and older. Complications can range from ear infections and pneumonia to deadly encephalitis. For every 1,000 people with measles, one to two people will die.

A consumer hotline has been established for calls during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. excluding holidays. Please call (334) 206-5023. In addition, for up-to-date answers to your questions about measles, visit CDC’s Measles FAQ webpage.

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