The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) has been informed of an outbreak of measles in Hawaii. As of November 10, 2014, the Hawaii State Department of Health reported that there have been 11 cases of measles. Of the 11 cases of measles, five were imported from Bali, Indonesia; the Philippines and Los Angeles, California.

Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It is primarily spread by person to person contact via large respiratory droplets. Symptoms are characterized by a generalized rash lasting 3 days or longer, with fever (101° F or higher) and cough, or coryza (runny nose), or conjunctivitis (red eyes).

The DPHSS recommends that persons traveling to Hawaii ensure they are vaccinated for measles (given in combination with the measles and mumps vaccines) 2 weeks before departing. With the upcoming holidays and due to frequent travel of residents between Guam and Hawaii, it is possible that the disease may be brought here. Therefore, the DPHSS also encourages parents to review their children’s shot record to ensure they have received the MMR (Measles, Mumps, 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. 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.