April 01, 2013
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Utah measles outbreak linked to unvaccinated traveler

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Two measles outbreaks were reported in Utah in 2011, one of which was attributed to an unvaccinated US resident who traveled internationally, according to data published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the first outbreak, the Salt Lake Valley Health Department was informed on April 5, 2011, of a 16-year-old unvaccinated resident with a rash and a 3-day history of sore throat and fever. Serum was positive for measles immunoglobulin M. On April 8, another unvaccinated patient, aged 15 years, with similar symptoms was reported to the health department. This patient had recently traveled to Europe. Serum tests were positive for measles IgM. Five additional cases were reported.

In the second outbreak, the Bear River Health Department was informed on May 24, 2011, of a 7-year-old unvaccinated child with measles symptoms. The serum was IgM-positive. The patients’ two unvaccinated siblings also developed measles in June 2011. Three additional family members also developed measles.

Of the 13 cases, nine were unvaccinated, one had two doses of a measles antigen-containing vaccine and three adults did not have vaccination records. Measles genotype D4 was identified in both outbreaks, but differed by a single nucleotide, which suggests two different importations.

“Because measles remains endemic in many regions of the world, the United States continues to be at risk for measles importations and outbreaks,” the researchers wrote. “Measles cases and outbreaks can have considerable impact on communities in the United States and often require substantial resources for public health response. Recognition of suspected measles cases by health care providers and immediate reporting to public health officials can help limit illness and associated costs.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.