Campus Alert: May 8th, 2019
Greetings from the University Health Center,
As you may know, there is currently a national surge of measles cases. So far, 700 cases have been reported nationwide in 23 states. There have been four cases of measles in Maryland, though no cases at the University of Maryland. I’m sharing this important health message for your protection, the protection of your family and the health of our community.
Measles is a disease which causes fever, cough, runny nose, eye irritation and a rash. It can cause more serious problems like lung, ear or brain infections, and in rare cases, death. It is extremely contagious and can live in the air for several hours in a location where an infected person has been.
Most people born and raised in the U.S. have been vaccinated against measles. Measles vaccine is required of all University of Maryland students, and enforced by a registration block. The state does allow for a waiver based on religion or medical conditions that would preclude administration of the vaccine.
Given this current situation, we recommend that you take the following action:
- Contact your healthcare provider, or review your immunization records, to make sure that you are immune to measles. We recommend that you keep these records readily available.
- If your immunization records are not on file at your health care provider’s office or at the Health Center, please discuss a blood test for immunity with your doctor or start the measles vaccine series (2 shots at least 4 weeks apart).
Please note, a person is considered immune if they:
- received two doses of measles–containing vaccine (typically MMR) on or after the their first birthday OR;
- have a blood test showing immunity to measles OR;
- were born in the United States prior to January 1, 1957.
The UHC is gathering immunization records on selected staff populations, including first responders, housekeeping staff, dining staff, and those living in our residence halls. We are also arranging times to administer MMR vaccine to un-immunized individuals. The cost of the vaccination is covered either by departments or personal insurance.
There is no age limitation for immunity in persons born outside the United States. This means those born outside of the United States need two doses of MMR regardless of their age. Please let me know if you have any questions, and I appreciate your attention to this important public health matter.