Measles Update

6:41am | Friday, February 7, 2014

I am writing to update you on the communication last week concerning a confirmed case of measles in a Rensselaer student. The affected student is at home, doing fine, and expected to make a full recovery. No additional cases or suspected cases of measles have been reported on campus.

Since the announcement last week, the 15 Rensselaer students who were known to be unimmunized against measles have either had their first vaccine or are now excluded from campus. A smaller number of other students, who still needed to received their second MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, have done so and are now compliant with the Institute’s vaccination requirements.

Any faculty or staff who were born after January 1, 1957, and are uncertain of their immunization history or immune status, should check immediately with their primary care physician. You can have a booster MMR vaccine or have a measles titer drawn by your physician to ensure immunity to measles. Any faculty and staff born before January 1, 1957 are considered immune

The Rensselaer Health Center is in daily contact with state health officials, and continues to monitor the situation closely. Please contact the Health Center at 518-276-6287 if you have further questions or concerns.

Leslie S. Lawrence, MD
Medical Director
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Confirmed Case of Measles On Campus

12:14pm | Saturday, February 1, 2014

I write to inform the Rensselaer community that we have confirmed a case of measles in one of our students. The student is currently under medical care, and appears to be stable.

The vast majority of our community is immunized against measles and is well-protected from contracting the illness. That said, measles can be serious and is highly contagious, so please read through the following information carefully.

Measles is a respiratory disease which spreads in the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. Symptoms of measles include a blotchy rash all over the body, fever, runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis (pink eye), feeling run down, and tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth.

Your best defense is to receive two MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) immunizations. There is no treatment for measles — prevention is the only way to reliably avoid a potentially dangerous infection. Measles immunizations are available to students at the Student Health Center and at your primary care doctor’s office.

Rensselaer has specific immunization requirements for all students. The Institute immunization requirements include at least two MMR vaccines. Therefore, all students should be immune, except those who completed a medical or religious waiver form. Persons who are not fully vaccinated against measles are at the highest risk for infection. We have only 15 such students at Rensselaer, and they have been individually notified of their increased risk. The student who has been confirmed to have the measles signed such a waiver, and has not been vaccinated. Students who were not notified have had the appropriate immunization coverage and do not need to take any further action.

Faculty and staff who were born before 1957 were exposed to the wild measles virus as children, and are immune, and therefore need to take no further action. Faculty and staff who were born after January 1, 1957, should have received at least two live attenuated measles vaccines to be considered immune. These are usually administered in the form of MMR vaccines. If you are uncertain of your immunization history or immune status, you should check with your primary care physician.

Please contact the Health Center at 518-276-6287 if you have further questions or concerns.

Leslie S. Lawrence, MD
Medical Director
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute