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Who is at Highest Risk for Getting Measles?

Measles Rubeola

Those most at risk for getting measles are poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or those whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.1 Crowded living conditions can also put people at high risk of contracting measles, even in highly-vaccinated populations.2,3

Worldwide, measles outbreaks occur in several year cycles, often coinciding with the seasons, usually late winter and spring. In the U.S. during a reported increase in measles cases during 1989-91, it was found that school-age children accounted for the largest proportion of measles cases.

Overall measles incidence rates were highest in urban Hispanic and African American populations where, among children younger than 5 years old, the incidence was four to seven times higher than among Caucasians. Also, CDC measles statistics from 1989-91 show that infants younger than one year of age may have been more susceptible to getting measles because their mothers had not experienced measles but had been vaccinated as children and were unable to pass on naturally acquired maternal antibodies to their infants to protect them in the first year of life.4

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Measles and the Measles vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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1 World Health Organization. Media Center-Measles Fact Sheet. Oct. 2011.  

2 Biellik RJ, Clements CJ. Strategies for Minimizing Nosocomial Measles Transmission. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 1997, 75 (4): 367-375.  

3 Markowitz LE, Preblud SR, Orenstein WA, et al. Patterns of Transmission in Measles Outbreaks in the United States, 1985-1986. N Engl J Med 1989; 320:75-81. Jan 12, 1989.  

4 CDC.gov. Vaccines. Measles. The Pink Book. No date.  

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