The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) received a report of a laboratory confirmed case of measles (rubeola). The patient is a 4 year old child with no history and/or documentation of MMR vaccination, who returned to Guam on March 2, 2014, from travel to the Philippines with the parents. Epidemiologic investigation has determined that exposure to measles occurred while in the Philippines.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It is primarily spread person to person contact via large respiratory droplets. Symptoms are characterized by a generalized rash lasting 3 days or longer, with fever (101⁰ F or higher) and cough, or coryza (runny nose), or conjunctivitis (red eyes).
It would be advisable for persons traveling to the Philippines to make sure they have been vaccinated for measles (given in combination with the measles and mumps vaccines) 2 weeks before departing. Due to frequent travel of residents between Guam and the Philippines, it is possible that the disease may be brought here.
The DPHSS is encouraging parents to check their children’s shot record to be sure they have received their MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine. The current recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are:
- Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine, with the first dose given at 1 year of age or older and dose #2 given between 4-6 years of age.
- All persons born during or after 1957 should have documentation of at least one dose of MMR vaccine given on or after the first birthday.
All health care providers on Guam are urged to be on alert for possible cases of measles and to promptly report suspect cases to the Immunization Program, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, at 735-7143/7148 or 735-7135. Furthermore, all health care providers are urged to review and update the immunization status of all patients they see. If vaccination is contraindicated because of illness, a follow-up appointment should be scheduled to update vaccination as soon as the illness is over.
For more information, please call the DPHSS Immunization Program at 735-7143.