Pender health officials issues measles info after outbreak

Measles vaccine (Photo: Matthew Lotz / U.S. Air Force)

BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — With recent news about the increasing number of measles cases in the United States, people are asking if they should be revaccinated.

On Monday, U.S. health officials say this year’s count of measles cases has surpassed 800, a growing tally that is already the nation’s highest in 25 years.

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“Vaccination with MMR vaccine is the best way to protect against measles,” said Kim Trotman, Pender County Health Department immunization nurse. “One dose of measles-containing vaccine administered at age 12 months is approximately 93 percent effective and the effectiveness of two doses of measles-containing vaccine is greater than 97 percent.”

At this time, North Carolina law regarding measles vaccination has not changed. All children attending school in North Carolina must have two doses of MMR vaccine separated by at least 28 days between doses.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) released the following guidelines for citizens wondering if they should be revaccinated:

• Adults born after 1957 who do not have evidence of immunity (either proof of measles vaccination or a titer showing that they are immune to measles) should receive one dose of a measles containing vaccine.

• Adults who fall into the high-risk category should have two doses of measles containing vaccine separated by at least 28 days. High-risk category includes healthcare workers, international travelers, and students attending post high school educational institutions.

People born before 1957 are considered to have immunity to measles and generally do not need to be vaccinated. Birth before 1957 provides only presumptive evidence for measles, mumps, and rubella. Before vaccines were available, nearly everyone was infected with measles, mumps, and rubella viruses during childhood. Most people born before 1957 are likely to have been infected naturally and therefore are presumed to be protected against measles, mumps, and rubella. Healthcare personal born before 1957 without laboratory evidence of immunity or disease should consider getting two doses of MMR vaccine.

Pender County Health Department offers measles vaccine as well as MMR titers. Contact Pender County Health Department for questions regarding cost. You do not need an appointment to receive vaccination or titers. Walk in hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed from 12-1 daily for lunch and holidays). We are located at 803 S. Walker Street, Burgaw.

You may call 910-259-1230 or visit the health department website

If you live in the Hampstead area, you can visit the Immunization Clinic at the Hampstead Annex which is open every Wednesday from 12:00 -5:00 PM. No appointment is necessary. The Hampstead Annex is located at 15060 US Highway 17, Hampstead.