U.S. FDA Stresses Importance of MMR Vaccination as Reported Measles Cases Reach Highest Number Since 1992
September 6, 2019 – In a brief statement, the U.S. FDA has again encouraged the public to take steps to prevent the measles, mumps, and rubella by following appropriate vaccination schedules for the MMR vaccine.
Reports of measles cases continue to rise, with 2019 seeing the highest number of reported cases in the United States since 1992. More than 1,200 cases have been reported since January 2019 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This marks a more than 300% increase since 2018, when 372 cases were reported. Approximately one tenth of the affected individuals have required hospitalization.
According to the FDA, “Given the serious health impacts that measles, mumps and rubella may have on American families … [we] cannot state strongly enough that the most effective measure against these diseases remains prevention through vaccination.” Today’s MMR vaccine is 97% effective when administered according to CDC recommendations. Its use led to the complete eradication of the measles in the U.S. in the year 2000 (prior to the virus’s reintroduction), complete eradication of rubella in 2004, and a 99% decrease in mumps cases.
The CDC provides MMR vaccination recommendations for children and adults on its website. Children should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine by six years of age. Adults may need to be vaccinated if they a) were not vaccinated as children, b) received the less effective killed virus version of the measles vaccine between 1963 and 1967, or c) received the MMR vaccine prior to 1989 – when the CDC introduced new recommendations – and were only vaccinated once.