Measles is a highly contagious viral respiratory illness that is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with respiratory droplets or airborne spread. After exposure, up to 90% of susceptible persons develop measles.1
The average incubation period for measles is 10 to 12 days from exposure to prodrome and 14 days from exposure to rash (range, 7–21 days). It is the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses.1,2
From January 1 to October 3, 2019, the greatest numbers of measles cases in the US affecting 31 states were reported since 1992.3
Measles Is a Serious Disease1,4
Even in previously healthy children, measles can cause serious illness requiring hospitalization.
- 1 out of every 1000 children with measles will develop acute encephalitis, which often results in permanent brain damage
- 1 to 3 out of every 1000 children who become infected with measles will die from respiratory and neurologic complications
- Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis is a rare but fatal degenerative disease of the central nervous system characterized by behavioral and intellectual deterioration and seizures that generally develop 7 to 10 years after measles infection
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the following patient groups at risk for severe disease and complications from measles receive an immune globulin intramuscular (IGIM) such as GamaSTAN1:
- Infants <12 months of age
- Pregnant women without evidence of measles immunity
- Severely immunocompromised persons
IGIM can be administered to other persons who do not have evidence of measles immunity, but priority should be given to persons exposed in settings with intense, prolonged, close contact (eg, household, daycare, and classroom).
The CDC can provide more information on measles and prevention.
Postexposure Prophylaxis for Measles1
If administered within 6 days of exposure, an IGIM such as GamaSTAN can prevent or modify measles in persons who are nonimmune. IGIM is not indicated for persons who have received 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine at age ≥12 months, unless they are severely immunocompromised.
Historically, IGIM has been administered for short-term measles prophylaxis and was the product used to demonstrate efficacy for measles postexposure prophylaxis.