Kids traveling abroad need measles vaccine
April 7th, 2011
01:42 PM ET

Kids traveling abroad need measles vaccine

Measles is rare in the United States, in fact, the ongoing transmission of the disease was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  But a new report from the CDC suggests that measles may be on the rise in this country,  because it can be brought in by people who travel to other countries.

As of April 1, 48 people have been infected with measles in the United States.  In the first two months of 2011 alone, 13 were "imported measles cases" - which means the disease was brought in from abroad or associated with an internationally imported case. Seven of those infected were unvaccinated children between the ages of 6 and 23 months.

That's a lot, compared to previous years. During all of 2001 to 2010, there were a total of 159 imported cases among U.S. residents, including 47 children aged 6 to 23 months. Per year, there were between 3 and 8 cases among children in that age range.  That means the figures for just two months of 2011 are comparable to totals in any given calendar year in that time period.

All seven of these young children who had measles in the first two months of 2011 had recently traveled internationally, the CDC said, and none of them had received the recommended measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to prevent the disease. Vaccination was also low among the 47 babies and toddlers who had measles in the 2001 to 2010 period.

Why is this happening? Parents and doctors may not know that even though MMR vaccination generally begins at age 12 to 15 months, with a booster at 4 to 6 years, there are different rules for international travel.  Which is why the CDC is recommending that any child between 6 and 11 months who will travel outside of the country should get one dose of the MMR vaccine.

Also, parents may not consider the risk very great for severe measles, the report said.

The diagnosis of measles is often delayed because measles isn't a common diagnosis when a child returns from abroad with a rash illness. Doctors need to be aware that if a child has a rash and a fever and just returned from another country,  it could be a sign of this disease. Suspected cases should be reported immediately to a local health department.

Measles can easily spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and mouth secretions. After the initial infection, the disease develops seven to 14 days later, according to the CDC.

Initial symptoms include cough, runny nose, moderate fever, red eyes and sore throat. Tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth a few days later, and a red or reddish-brown rash appears three to five days after the symptoms begin.  In some cases, measles can cause very serious complications.  According to the CDC, about one out of 1,000 children with measles get encephalitis or inflammation of the brain, and one or two out of 1,000 will die.

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. CalgarySandy

    If a pregnant woman gets measles her fetus can be severely damaged. This is why an up to date measles shot is required if teaching school in Canada.

    I think all US citizens who travel should be required to show proof of immunization for all parties including babies. This is solely because of the number of people who were sucked in by the Autism lobby, on the basis of study on 12 people so the doctor could sell his own vaccine. If you want to allow people to risk new epidemics of diseases almost forgotten then let them do it at home. Whopping cough is on the rise again. It easily kills infants and those who are not healthy. Polio is just around the corner as it is still active in developing nations. A time is likely coming when all countries will demand that people coming in prove that they have been immunized. Thanks to morons and culpable doctors antibiotics are no longer working on many infections because of prescribing them when they are not needed. Super bugs are on the rise.

    Break out the iron lungs and the Bubble Boy isolation situation.

    April 7, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lynn

      I think you are being a little hard on parents. I have an excellent pediatrician who asked us if we had any plans for travel in or out to the US. Not all pediatricians ask these questions, in fact, most probably don't. So I'm certain that some of the parents that traveled outside of the U.S. with children who weren't vaccinated were not informed by their pediatricians of the risks involved. I had no idea prior to having a baby 6 months ago about the issues surrounding vaccines or childhood illnesses. Now I'm much more informed thanks in large part to my son's doctor. And I'm certain that most of these parents, had they been properly informed would choose not to expose their infant to measles, etc. when traveling abroad if they were made completely aware of the risks of doing so. Parents want to protect their children at all cost and that is why some parents also choose not to vaccinate. It's up to pediatricians to inform parents of the risks to their children's health pertaining to vaccines. Both in getting vaccinated and especially the risks for not vaccinating. It's not just the bad press that vaccines have received. Right now we have a terrible economy and lots of people have lost their jobs and insurance. Maybe the rise in children not being vaccinated is mostly due to these factors and not simply parents fear of vaccines!

      April 8, 2011 at 01:13 | Report abuse |
    • LiLRedCV

      Did it ever occur to you that the "super bugs" that are becoming more prevalent are doing so because of the vaccines? Obviously NOT! Our bodies tend to build natural immunities to natural diseases when exposed. Compromise that immune system with toxins or lab created diseases and you'll have a whole new playing field!

      You also failed to take into consideration that some people have that natural immunity due to exposure. I know I'm immune to measles! Oh, and chicken pox... and that kitty litter toxin that can cause miscarriages...

      And you don't seem to take into account that vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all remedy (a larger portion of the whooping cough cases reported have been fully vaccinated!) and that there are those who might end up with an adverse reaction. What makes YOUR child more important than anyone else's?

      April 8, 2011 at 01:57 | Report abuse |
    • kdw31

      Lilredcv I'm assuming by superbugs you mean things like MRSA, Cdiff and other such BACTERIA. Vaccines have nothing to do with bacteria evolving in response to antibiotics. If you don't understand the biological process of antibiotic resistance then I suggest you educate yourself. If you are instead referring to viral infections such as the recent H1N1, then I suggest you read up on plagues that have occurred throughout history. There is no evidence that severe viral infections are on the rise in response to vaccination. Most people who die from measles, polio, etc in this day in age live in developing nations in which there are no vaccinations.

      April 8, 2011 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      kdw31–Those countries where people are dying of polio, measles etc. also lack basic sanitation, proper diets, etc. Vaccines are not some magic bullet and this article itself says that the majority of the new measles cases involved people who had received the vaccine.

      April 8, 2011 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • MrMichaelJ

      Lynn, the parents hold more responsibility to educate themselves about what is going on around them. Why would a parent travel overseas with an infant and not do some basic research into diseases and environmental issues with the areas they are going to? Don't rely on your peds, be an active parent and take responsibility! Geez.

      LiLRedCV, most of the recent whooping cough cases were not babies vaccinated because they were too young to be vaccinated. They were below the minimum age for the vaccine. They got sick because those around them were not vaccinated or their parents caught it and didn't know. Why did the parents catch it? Because hippy parents around them refused to vaccinate their kids thereby destroying the safety of the herd. The rest of your post didn't make any sense, you clearly do not understand what is going on. Educate yourself.

      April 8, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
    • PK

      Robert is also misinformed. As an example, there is a major measles outbreak in the Geneva Canton of Switzerland and the Rhone-Alps region of France. Why? Lack of sufficient vaccination, not sanitary conditions.

      April 9, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Lilredcv, you are sadly, criminally misinformed. Get an education, and not one that comes from junk science you find on some bogus website. Grow up and grow a brain. You're a menace to the health of others. Someone should vaccinate anyone who knows you to prevent your ignorance from spreading to them.

      April 9, 2011 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
  2. Rocksor

    This article misses the fact that there are more US adults who travel than kids and do not have their vaccinations up to date.

    April 7, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LiLRedCV

      Many adults may already have a natural immunity to this disease from having been exposed before the vaccine became available. I know I am. I lived. I'm here to tell about it.

      April 8, 2011 at 01:59 | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      Aaahhhh, rockman, article is about kids...
      not adults...
      do you understand?

      April 8, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
  3. Rachel

    The moral of this story is: Parents– vaccinate your kids!

    April 7, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hintofgray

      Hear, hear!

      April 9, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
  4. Evelyn

    If the MMR shot could be separated and I could just give my child the measles vaccine, then I'd be ok with that. Until then, I won't give my child the MMR vaccine, and I won't travel abroad until my child is older and has a strong immune system to handle the MMR combination.

    April 7, 2011 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kris

      Evelyn, my kids were given the M and the M and the R vaccine. You can split them up – ask your pediatrician.

      April 8, 2011 at 09:23 | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      evelyn knows better than the docs, right?

      April 8, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
  5. sb

    what cracks me up is that they sure focus on the unvaccinated kids but fail to mention all the people that were vaccinated and still got measles. Anybody see the problem in the logic here?

    April 7, 2011 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LiLRedCV

      Sounds a lot like the recent whooping cough outbreaks, huh? The largest majority of those who developed the disease were fully vaccinated! Their solution? Vaccinate more!!

      April 8, 2011 at 02:01 | Report abuse |
    • Hintofgray

      You are incorrect. As usual.

      April 9, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
  6. Joanna

    The un-vaccinated should have nothing to worry about if they are vaccinated... Oh wait here it comes, but the shots are not 100%. What they are not 100%. So who really knows if they are not 100%, are they really 90%, 80%, etc. They are barely 35% effective, do your research you people you are being played and poisoned.

    April 7, 2011 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The only one being "played" is you, simpleton. Vaccines aren't 100% effective; neither are seatbelts, you dipwad. Or parachutes.

      I guess you think those are useless, too. Stupid.

      April 9, 2011 at 22:56 | Report abuse |
  7. Janet

    Rubella and not measles causes catastrophic damage to fetuses - it is a mild disease in children and adults and horrific for first trimester fetuses. Measles is more likely to be lethal to kids; the 5 year old child of family friends died of it when I was a kid and there were kids at my school with long term damage. My 6th grade teacher's son died of polio; my brother's best friend was in an iron lung. My uncle died of diptheria as an 18 month old.

    Of course vaccines are not 100%. It is too bad it is not only the children of free riders who are damaged by their negligence. Those 10 babies who died of pertusis in California this year were all too young to be vaccinated and so were killed by those who allowed it to again become endemic by not vaccinating.

    April 7, 2011 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LiLRedCV

      What about the kids DAMAGED by vaccines? And I'm not talking about the autism debate here (which, for the record, there's ANOTHER doctor/scientist – besides Dr. Wakefield – in this past couple of weeks claiming there IS a connection), but those who suffer from encephalitis, seizures, autoimmune disorders, etc.

      Are they any less important? I don't think so.

      Much like 'scripts your doctor may love to hand out, vaccines are not a a one-size-fits-all remedy. There are some serious issues involved with them. A legitimate study of the vaccinated vs the un-vaccinated has never been done to prove the pro-vaccine theories tossed around. They've all been conducted by the very pharmaceutical companies who make them (much like their claim that Dr. Wakefield was allegedly basing this claim on the money to be had by creating his own vaccine). That should make everyone take a moment and think about it just for a second, but it won't.

      April 8, 2011 at 02:13 | Report abuse |
    • Hintofgray

      Only someone truly ignorant would wonder why a study hasn't been done comparing the unvaccinated with the vaccinated. Get your head examined.

      Vaccines are very safe. NOTHING in life is 100% safe and if that's what you're looking for, then keep your kid in a bubble. Vaccines are effective. NOTHING is 100% effective. If you're looking for guarantees, you'll be disappointed at every turn.

      April 9, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What about them, you nut case? Why aren't you addressing the subject raised about those infants that died of pertussis because they were too young to be vaccinated and were infected by people who had not received vaccine or booster shots? I guess you don't think those babies matter much, do you? They aren't just 'damaged', you nut. They're dead.

      Stop being an idiot.

      April 9, 2011 at 22:51 | Report abuse |
  8. Maggie

    Measles is a rare but concerning disease. I can understand that parents are worried about it. CNN does a great job on medical coverage, which I enjoy. I just read an interesting book, "Stories from the Emergency Department", about medical issues coming into the Emergency Room.

    April 7, 2011 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. A Father

    There is no safe vaccine in any way, shape, or form. Vaccines are a lie. As a father of a vaccine injured child, I am one of the many faces of the growing anti-vaccine movement. Where do you think the anti-vaccine movement is coming from? And why do you think its growing? I guarantee you that, as more children are injured and killed by vaccines, more and more families will reject them. This isn't based on a misunderstanding or misinformation. This is coming from experience. And, unfortunately, more children are going to be hurt as doctors and pharma continue to lie to us about the safety of vaccines.

    April 8, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MrMichaelJ

      Experience does not equal facts. There are many aspects that could cause an adverse reaction to a vaccine besides just the vaccine. The child could be sick at the time the vaccine was administered, there could be environmental reasons for a reaction, there could be something in the kids food source causing a problem, something in the home causing a problem. All these things combined with then getting a vaccine shot which would lower the immune system a little bit while the body builds antibodies could then trigger an underlying issue that wasn't visible. Just because a kid has a reaction to a vaccine does not mean the vaccine cause the reaction.

      We are only allowing 2 vaccines at a time, our doctor supports this. Our baby will be fully immunized by the time they reach school age just like those following the CDC schedule, except that we are spacing everything out. We do not get charged any extra for doing this for the extra office visits. A fever after a shot is not a negative reaction, it is actually a good reaction, it means the body is creating antibodies and strengthening the immune system. No damage is done. Some pain after a vaccine is also not a negative. Yes some kids have bad reactions which is why you should space out your vaccines so you know which one caused the reaction so you can either skip the next shot or try a different brand. Vaccinations are not fun for anyone, but they are necessary to protect your child, your family and those around you. You don't want your child to be patient zero in the middle of a whopping cough outbreak or something bad do you?

      April 8, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
    • Tb

      Many parents claim their child was hurt by vaccines, oddly enough autism isn't caused by vaccines!

      May 4, 2011 at 21:38 | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    Do your research people.


    April 13, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Tb

    Are don't vaccinate your kids.. Never mind 100 years ago kids rarely made it to adulthood, in parts of the world this is still true. Tetanus is a needed vaccine no mater what as dying of suffocation due to muscle contractions doesn't seen to be a good way to die( It's in the environment ). The risks to a child would be high if no one vaccinated their children...

    Vaccines do not cause autism, children still get autism even w/o the vaccines, they have now found major changes in babies brains at 6 months and instead of a damaged brain it seems that it becomes a super brain, damage wouldn't create extra neurones.

    May 4, 2011 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply

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