In recent months, the measles virus has infected more than 150 Americans in 17 states, including 10 cases in Illinois, contiguous to Missouri.
The University of Missouri has an excellent student vaccination policy led by the Student Health Center in coordination with the Office of the University Registrar. Even so, the infections have prompted MU Health Care officials to prepare for a possible measles case in the Columbia region.
The Student Health Center helps enforce MU’s student immunization policy, which includes two vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Most American students have had MMR vaccinations as infants, children or both, said Susan Even, executive director of the Student Health Center and campus chief student health officer. On rare occasions, an entering international student might need one of the required vaccines.
Even encourages students to make sure they have been vaccinated. Students with nonmedical waivers, which Even estimates at less than 100 campuswide, should also consider being vaccinated.
In the event of a measles case, students are asked to first call (rather than show up at) their health care provider, the Student Health Center, or the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services for guidance.
Employees should check their measles immunization status, Even said. In the event of a measles case, they are asked to call their health care provider or the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services for guidance.
Measles is highly contagious. It can be spread through coughing and sneezing and can live up to two hours in an airspace or on a surface like a doorknob or computer keyboard, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms generally appear seven to 14 days after a person is infected. Symptoms typically include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red and watery eyes, according to the CDC.