Measles Outbreak in Michigan Prompts Urgent Call to Vaccinate
As Michigan experiences its
worst measles outbreak in decades, hospitals across the state that specialize
in children’s health today urged parents to have their children vaccinated to
protect them and others against measles and other serious diseases that can
sicken and kill people.
As of March 26, the Michigan
Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) had confirmed 22 total measles
cases statewide since March 13. Oakland County had 21 cases, and one case was a
Wayne County resident. Infected individuals ranged in age from 11 to 63. Vaccine-preventable
diseases like measles and whooping cough are serious. Before vaccines, parents
in the United States could expect that every year polio would paralyze 10,000
children, whooping cough would kill 8,000 infants and measles would infect
about 4 million children, killing about 500. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention estimates that vaccinations will prevent more than 21 million
hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years.
These 11 Michigan hospital organizations that have a special
focus on children’s health are joining public health officials and agencies
across the state to urge people to get vaccinated to protect against measles,
pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, chicken pox, the flu, and other serious
vaccine-preventable diseases. These health systems, listed below, work together
to address children’s health issues via the Michigan Health & Hospital
Association’s (MHA) Council on Children’s Health.
Hospital of Michigan
Medicine – C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Mercy Health System
UP Health System
“Measles is highly
contagious and can have especially serious health consequences for children, so
we urge Michigan parents to get their kids vaccinated,” said Luanne Thomas
Ewald, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Michigan and chairperson of the MHA
Council on Children’s Health. “Some people think of measles as just a little
rash and fever that clears up in a few days, but measles can cause serious
health complications, especially in children younger than five years of age.”
The best protection against
measles is the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The MMR vaccine provides
long-lasting protection against all strains of measles. A child needs two doses
of the MMR vaccine for the best protection: The first dose at 12 through 15
months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
Ewald said unvaccinated
residents and residents who are unsure of their vaccination status should get
vaccinated. Residents should contact their healthcare provider or local health
department to receive the vaccine. If symptoms of measles develop, hospitals
request that patients do not visit your doctor or emergency room unless you
call ahead so they can take precautions to prevent exposure to other
Measles spreads through the
air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one
person has it, nine out of 10 people around him or her will also become
infected if they are not protected. A child can get measles just by being
in a room where a person with measles has been, even up to two hours after that
person has left. An infected person can spread measles to others even before
knowing he/she has the disease—from four days before developing the measles
rash through four days afterward.
Here are some medical facts
about the measles:
About one in four
people in the United States who get measles will be hospitalized.
occur in about one out of every 10 children with measles and can result in
permanent hearing loss.
As many as one
out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of
death from measles in young children.
One out of every
1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling, which could lead to
One or two out
of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care.
cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight
major medical and health groups in Michigan recommend vaccinations as the best
way to protect yourself and your family from vaccine-preventable diseases.
residents – especially parents – with questions about vaccinations are urged to
visit www.IVaccinate.org, a website
created with input and guidance from Michigan parents, doctors, nurses, public
health officials, and immunization experts. IVaccinate.org includes information
based on the extensive and now unanimous body of scientific and medical
research that examines the safety and effectiveness of vaccines to prevent
serious diseases. Learn more information about Michigan’s current measles
outbreak at https://ivaccinate.org/measles-outbreak/.