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Many of you have been hearing a lot about measles in the news recently. Here are some facts to keep you informed:

From January 1 to April 11, 2019, 555 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 20 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000. Measles has not yet been reported in North Carolina.

In a given year, measles cases can occur for any of the following reasons:

  • An increase in the number of travelers who get measles abroad and bring it into the U.S.
  • Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
  • Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated.
  • The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.

What does this mean for UNC and Campus Health?

  • Incoming students are required to show proof of 2 MMR vaccines or measles immunity per NC state law
  • Employees in the healthcare setting at UNC are required to have 2 MMRs or show proof of immunity.
  • The measles component of the MMR is very effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles.
  • Patients with rash that is suspicious for measles or chicken pox should be masked at check-in and the triage RN notified. If they call to schedule, the scheduler notes “mask and notify triage RN on arrival” in the appointment notes. This helps us decide the most appropriate location for the patient to be seen while protecting our patients and staff.

While there have been sporadic small outbreaks of measles on college campuses in recent years, the last large scale outbreaks in the US occurred in the 1980s. Vaccine requirements for college entrance were subsequently introduced in many states.

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