Hospitals across Michigan urge parents to have their children vaccinated

Measles Outbreak in Michigan Prompts Urgent Call to Vaccinate

School boy on vaccination in pediatrician clinic

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.

  • Beaumont Health
  • Bronson Children’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital of Michigan
  • Henry Ford Health System
  • Hurley Medical Center
  • McLaren Health Care
  • Michigan Medicine – C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
  • Munson Healthcare
  • Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
  • Saint Joseph 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 individuals.

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.
  • Ear infections 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 brain damage.
  • One or two out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care.
  • Measles may cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.

All major medical and health groups in Michigan recommend vaccinations as the best way to protect yourself and your family from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Michigan residents – especially parents – with questions about vaccinations are urged to visit, a website created with input and guidance from Michigan parents, doctors, nurses, public health officials, and immunization experts. 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

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