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JAMA. 1994 Oct 12;272(14):1127-32.

The impact of college prematriculation immunization requirements on risk for measles outbreaks.

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National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333.

Erratum in

  • JAMA 1994 Dec 21;272(23):1822.



To assess whether prematriculation immunization requirements (PIRs) affect the number of measles cases on college campuses.


We surveyed a stratified random sample of 880 colleges and universities to determine their immunization policies and practices and occurrence of measles outbreaks from 1988 through 1991. We merged national measles surveillance data with survey data by county to determine the risk for measles introduction on college campuses. We used logistic regression methods to estimate the effect of PIRs and assess risk factors for college measles outbreaks.


A total of 3205 US colleges and universities listed in standard guides.


Of selected schools, 91 (11%) of the 796 responding schools reported one or more measles cases occurring from 1988 through 1991. Schools with a state-mandated PIR were significantly less likely to report measles outbreaks of two or more cases than other institutions (adjusted relative risk [RR] = 0.30; 95% confidence interval [Cl], 0.11 to 0.84). None of the 14 schools that reported outbreaks of 10 or more cases was subject to state regulation or had a PIR specifying two doses of measles vaccine in place. Of schools with introduction of measles, residential colleges were more likely to report extensive spread of measles (five or more cases) than nonresidential colleges (RR = 35.8; 95% Cl, 2.08 to 617.0). Of public schools, 4-year programs had a higher risk of a large outbreak (five or more cases) than 2-year programs.


These results strongly support current recommendations for requiring proof of vaccination of college students to decrease the risk for measles outbreaks on college campuses. State regulations mandating PIRs ensure the best protection against widespread measles transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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