FALLS CHURCH, Va. - The United States is currently experiencing the highest number of measles cases since 1994. Here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about measles in the Department of Defense:
Answer: As part of the U.S. and global community, military members and their families share concerns about increased rates of measles. Measles in military service members is very rare because of strong vaccine requirements. Measles is a greater risk for family members, especially those who are less¬ than fully vaccinated because of young age, medical conditions, or other reasons.
Answer: Like all U.S. healthcare, U.S. military medicine follows the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (CDC/ACIP). The overarching reference for measles protection best practice is: CDC. Prevention of measles, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, and mumps. MMWR 2013:62(4):1-40. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr6204.pdf
Answer: Adults should not get "extra" vaccines during measles outbreaks. However, all adults should maintain evidence of measles immunity. CDC/ACIP define evidence of measles immunity as: (a) documentation of adequate vaccination, OR (b) laboratory evidence of immunity or past disease, OR (c) birth before 1957.
Answer: Children older than 12 months of age should not get "extra" vaccines during measles outbreaks. However, all children should maintain evidence of measles immunity. CDC/ACIP define evidence of measles immunity in children as: (a) documentation of two doses of MMR (or MMRV) vaccine after 12 months of age, OR (b) laboratory evidence of immunity or past disease.
Answer: Routine administration of measles vaccines (MMR or MMRV) should not begin before 12 months of age. However, children younger than 12 months of age require special consideration for measles protection. Children ages 6-12 months who travel internationally should receive one dose of MMR vaccine; they should subsequently receive two doses of MMR (or MMRV) after age 12 months and before school entry. During measles outbreaks in the U.S., recommendations may also be made to give one dose of MMR to children ages 6-12 months. Such recommendations are made by the cognizant public health authority who will define the time and location parameters of an outbreak; this was done in New York in April 2019. The U.S. military will support such recommendations for military families in affected areas.