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News and Views: Measles and congenital rubella syndrome
reports in MMWR
Charlotte A. Moser, Assistant Director, and Paul A. Offit, Director, Vaccine Education Center
at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
The March 29, 2013 issue of
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) contained articles related to cases of
vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States:
- Measles outbreaks – Two measles outbreaks occurred in Utah during 2011 and both were related to
importations of the disease following international travel. A total of 13 cases were confirmed. In
addition, approximately 13,000 contacts had to be notified, 8,700 medical records of exposed
persons reviewed, 253 laboratory tests conducted, 484 vaccines administered and 28 prophylactic
An accompanying editorial note reinforced the importance of vaccination and the necessary
vigilance on the front lines when considering potential diagnoses of febrile rash illnesses.
- Cases of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) – Although rubella has been eliminated from the
U.S., the disease continues to occur elsewhere throughout the world. In 2012, three babies were
born with CRS following maternal infection during pregnancy; in all three cases, the mom had
traveled to the U.S. from other countries in which rubella vaccination is not routine. One of the
three babies died.
The accompanying editorial note pointed out that of the six cases of CRS in the U.S. since
2004, five were related to travelers; therefore, healthcare providers should consider the potential
for CRS in infants born with compatible congenital defects if the mother traveled to an area where
rubella infections were circulating during her pregnancy. Any suspected case of CRS is required to
be reported to local health department officials.
Despite the fact that many vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) are no longer common in the U.S.,
considering the possibility that a patient with symptoms suggestive of a VPD may be infected is of
the utmost importance. In addition, because many of these diseases can easily spread in
communities, handling of suspected cases should include conversations with local public health
Read the MMWR reports discussed
in this story»
Read a story from a public health official following a measles outbreak in her
In the Journals: Vaccines and autism
Paul A. Offit, MD, Director, Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of
In a paper published in March 2013, Frank DeStefano and colleagues addressed the
relationship between vaccines and autism (DeStefano F, Price CS, Weintraub, ES.
Exposure to Antibody-Stimulating Proteins and Polysaccharides in Vaccines Is Not Associated with
Risk of Autism.
J Pediatr. 2013 Mar 29. doi 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.02.001).
more about the paper and its findings»
Technically Speaking: Recommendations
for use of meningococcal vaccines in high-risk infants and children
Deborah L. Wexler, MD, Executive Director, Immunization Action Coalition
The recommendations and available products for meningococcal vaccination of high-risk
infants and children have evolved since 2007 when ACIP first recommended vaccination of children
age 2 to 10 years who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease. Published on March 22, 2013,
the current recommendations summarize and compile all previous meningococcal recommendations. The
current recommendations are complex; for example, in the recommendations for vaccinating people in
certain risk groups, the number of recommended vaccine doses and products varies, and includes some
off-label use. This column offers an overview of the meningococcal recommendations for vaccinating
high-risk infants and children, and provides links to some valuable resources that will help
healthcare professionals make appropriate vaccination decisions.
more about meningococcal vaccine nomenclature and recommendations»
From the Media — H7N9 influenza in China
In the beginning of April, a novel strain of influenza, H7N9, was identified in people with
severe respiratory illness and some deaths in China. Chinese officials are in the process of
completing retrospective sampling to determine if others with similar symptoms were infected prior
to these first cases.
On the Calendar
It’s National Infant Immunization Week and World Immunization Week! National Meningitis Day is
Wednesday of this week as well! Find more information in the Observances section of the
New conferences have been added to the live meetings listings; find out more about conferences
being held in Massachusetts and Iowa.
On the Bookshelf: The History of Vaccines
Charlotte A. Moser, Assistant Director, Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of
History of Vaccines project at the
College of Physicians of Philadelphia recently published a similarly titled companion book to their
extensive website. The primary audience is high school students; however, with more than 40
illustrations and chapters related to early methods of vaccination, the fight against polio and the
expansion of the childhood immunization schedule thereafter, the book offers readers from all
backgrounds useful information and historical context.
Single copies of the book are available from
Amazon.com and bulk orders can be
arranged by contacting the
History of Vaccines
Resources: Global immunization educational materials and CDC
Global immunization educational materials
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has partnered with the United Nation Foundation’s
Shot@Life campaign to offer pediatric practices materials to educate patients and their families
about the importance of global immunizations. Practices can receive a free toolkit by
completing a short
survey. The kit includes posters, information cards for various audiences, pin drives with
media for television and computers, mobile app information cards, bandages, and fundraising tools
for those who may want to go a step further.
from the AAP»
Check out the shot@life campaign website»
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had updates regarding the following
over the last few weeks:
Teen vaccines - A
variety of materials to assist with teen vaccines are available on the teen-specific section of the
CDC website, including information for parents, teens, healthcare providers and public health
professionals. A speakers’ bureau is currently being put together for this topic as well.
Updated recommendations for meningococcal disease published – The March 22,
2013, issue of MMWR (Volume 62, No. RR-2) included updated meningococcal prevention and control
guidance. The guidance combines previous recommendations in one reference and includes information
about the use of MenHibrix®.
Read more in this month’s Technically Speaking article»
You Call the Shots
– The hepatitis A module of the “You Call the Shots” training course was recently updated.