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Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Mar;18(3):431-6.

Quality standard for assurance of measles immunity among health care workers. Infectious Diseases Society of America.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Hartford Hospital, CT 06115.



The objective of this quality standard is to prevent nosocomial transmission of measles by assuring universal measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination of all health care workers who lack immunity to measles. Although the primary emphasis is on health care workers in hospitals, those at other sites, such as clinics, nursing homes, and schools, are also included. It will be the responsibility of designated individuals at these institutions to implement the standard.


We considered advocating the use of measles vaccine rather than MMR vaccine but chose the latter because it also protects against mumps and rubella and because it is more readily available.


The desired outcome is a reduction in the nosocomial transmission of measles.


Although direct comparative studies are lacking, nosocomial outbreaks of measles have been reported (as recently as 1992) in institutions where measles immunization of nonimmune health care workers is not universal, whereas such outbreaks have not been reported in institutions with universal immunization. VALUES AND VALIDATION: We consulted more than 50 infectious-disease experts from the fields of epidemiology, government, medicine, nursing, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and surgery. In light of disagreement regarding the implementation of the standard, we used group discussions to reach a consensus.


The consequences of the transmission of measles (and of mumps and rubella) in a health care institution include not only the morbidity and mortality attributable to the disease but also the significant cost of evaluating and containing an outbreak and the serious disruption of regular hospital routines when control measures are instituted. The potential harm to health care workers after the implementation of the standard consists of untoward effects of MMR vaccine, although the reactions of vaccinees should be minimal with adherence to recommended vaccination procedures. Implementation of the standard should entail no expense to health care workers; the precise cost to institutions is unknown, but the expense would be mitigated by the prevention of measles outbreaks.


We recommend MMR vaccination of all health care workers who lack immunity to measles.


The Quality Standards Subcommittee of the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) developed the standard. The subcommittee was composed of representatives of the IDSA (P.A.G. and J.E.M.), the Society for Hospital Epidemiology of America (R.P.W.), the Surgical Infection Society (E.P.D.), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (P.J.K.), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (W.J.M.), the Obstetrics and Gynecology Infectious Diseases Society (R.L.S.), and the Association of Practitioners of Infection Control (T.L.B.). Funding was provided by the IDSA and the other cooperating organizations. The standard is endorsed by the IDSA.

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