When we last updated you on the measles outbreak in the United States, there were 465 cases spread across 19 states. At the time, that was the highest number of U.S. cases since 2000, when measles was declared “eliminated.” Well, the number of cases now sits at 839—a jump of 374 cases—in 23 states, all diagnosed between January 1 and May 10 of this year. One challenge: The potential to contract measles isn’t limited to children whose parents who have chosen not to have them vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers people who have received two doses of measles vaccine as children to be “protected for life.” However, the CDC also recommends that adults receive a single dose unless they have evidence of immunity. Given the level of fear that’s taking hold in communities around the country, this may be an ideal time to educate patients about this need and offer to give them a shot on the spot, unless there’s a compelling reason not to. Family Health Urgent Care, for one, has taken that message public through local media around its locations in Alabama. Family Health let the community know that they have MMR vaccine on hand, what locations they can visit for a shot, and how much it will cost, and explained a bit about the federal Vaccines for Children program, which provides vaccines to patients 18 years of age and under who might not otherwise get vaccinated due to inability to pay. Consider doing the same. It’s a great way to perform a much-needed public health service while introducing your clinic to potential new patients.
Update: Measles Cases Keep Climbing; What Are You Doing to Help?