Thursday 30th of March 2017

Measles Epidemic in China

Official Statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control



Families traveling to China should be aware that although measles is well-controlled in the United States, it is still endemic in China, meaning that it occurs regularly in the population. Recently several cases of measles have occurred in children adopted from China (primarily from a single orphanage). These cases have resulted in exposure of many other families, embassy staff, flight attendants, and airline passengers, and at least three family members of adopted children have been diagnosed with measles following these exposures. Although this outbreak has been contained, given the measles situation in China, it is likely that other cases of measles will continue to occur and may affect children being adopted.

Measles is a serious respiratory infection that is most often self-limited, but can cause serious complications, including death, particularly in children under one year of age, and adults. Measles vaccine will prevent almost all cases of measles. To prevent spread of measles from adoptees to their families and companions, and to ensure that no interruption in the adoption process occurs, families traveling to China and their traveling companions should ensure that they are immune to measles before going to China. You are considered to be immune to measles if:

1. You were born before 1957, OR

2. You have received two doses of measles vaccine, at least a month apart OR

3. You have had a blood test showing that you have antibodies against measles virus.

Measles vaccine is safe and effective. A single dose will induce immunity in more than 95% of people, and it can safely be given to people who are already immune, so if you are not sure, it is safer to get the vaccine. The most common side effects associated with measles vaccine are a transient fever and rash that occur 1-2 weeks after getting the vaccine in 5-15% of people.

Please contact your health care provider or your local health department if you have questions about measles or measles vaccine. Information about measles vaccine is available at the CDC website.

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