Measles was eliminated in 2000, but with under-vaccinated populations due to unvaccinated people, we have seen a recent resurgence of this highly contagious viral infection. It can live for two hours suspended in air or on surfaces. One out of every three children under the age of 5 who gets measles ends up hospitalized. The best way to protect yourself and your children is to get everyone vaccinated. The first dose of the MMR vaccine, typically given at one year of age, provides 95% protection and after two doses protection is 97-99% and provides lifelong immunity. That second dose is usually given at age four years but can be given as early as one month after the first one. We at La Peer Pediatrics are recommending that the families in our practice schedule a nurse visit to get the 2nd dose. There is no downside to doing this.
We also recommend that infants 6-12 months old receive the MMR vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to any air travel, domestic or international. They will still need 2 more doses according to the routine vaccination schedule.
The vaccine is not given to children under 6 months of age because the baby still has some antibodies to measles passed on from the placenta in utero. Those antibodies would inhibit the vaccine from working.
It is best to be cautious with infants. Avoid travel, especially to anyplace where a significant number of measles cases have been reported, until the child is old enough to be vaccinated. If your infant has not had the MMR vaccine, it is also wise to also avoid crowded locations such as amusement parks or malls, as well as travel.