Hawaii doctors urged to be on alert for measles amid spike in cases nationally

Hawaii doctors urged to be on alert for measles amid spike in cases nationally

As measles cases surge across the nation, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) has sounded an alarm for residents, urging heightened vigilance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have noted a concerning uptick in measles cases, with 41 infections identified across 16 states just last week. While Hawaii has not reported any outbreaks, the DOH is cautioning physicians to remain alert for potential cases.

Of particular concern is the declining vaccination rates in the state. According to the CDC, slightly over 85% of kindergarten-aged children in Hawaii have received the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which falls short of the recommended rate by 10%.

Dr. Sarah Kemble, the state Epidemiologist, attributes this trend partially to increased vaccine hesitancy observed during the pandemic. She emphasizes the importance of taking proactive measures, especially as the state transitions back to an endemic phase of COVID-19.

Kemble encourages individuals to seize the opportunity to catch up on missed vaccinations, underscoring the critical role of healthcare connections in safeguarding public health. The recommended vaccination protocol includes two doses of the MMR vaccine for children aged 12 months and older, with infants aged 6 to 11 months advised to receive a single dose.

In light of the evolving health landscape, the DOH underscores the significance of vaccination in preventing the spread of measles and other infectious diseases, advocating for proactive measures to protect community health.