With two reported cases of measles in Michigan so far this year, the Michigan Department of Community Health is reminding parents that infants older than 6 months can receive a measles vaccine if they plan to travel internationally.
The vaccine is typically given at 12 months of age, but both cases of the disease in the state this year occurred in infants younger than 12 months who had not yet received the shot and had traveled outside the U.S.
One of the cases occurred in an 8-month-old in April in the Battle Creek area.
Michigan is among 16 states that have reported cases of measles in 2013 through mid-August, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The once common disease is now a rarity in United States, but that progress may be threatened by the high incidence of measles elsewhere in the world and insufficient levels of immunizations in some communities.
"Measles is highly contagious and is by no means a trivial disease. It can result in hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis, and death,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health. “We need to achieve and sustain high levels of vaccination in Michigan and across the United States. Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles outbreaks from occurring and to prevent this disease from spreading widely in our communities.”
According to the CDC, there were 159 cases reported nationally as of Aug. 24, 2013.
From 2001–2012, the average number of measles cases reported nationally per year was 60. Michigan reported two of the cases this year, and is currently investigating another.
Nearly all of the 159 cases nationally were “import-associated,” meaning that they were directly or indirectly linked to a case or an exposure in another country. The majority of cases, 82 percent, occurred among people who were not vaccinated.