Medical students as sources of rubella and measles outbreaks

G. A. Poland, K. L. Nichol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Medical students demonstrate a high degree of susceptibility to rubella and measles, and hence are at risk for infection and transmission of these viruses. The purpose of our study was to examine the role medical students play as sources or vectors in rubella and measles outbreaks. We conducted a survey of all US and Canadian public health departments to determine how often students were implicated in outbreaks (response rate, 88.7%). We also performed a literature search to identify any cases not reported to health departments, as well as examined the medical, social, and economic consequences of such outbreaks in the medical setting. Since 1981, 9% of health departments have recorded at least one outbreak of rubella or measles in which medical students were specifically implicated as sources or vectors. Increased morbidity, mortality, and adverse economic consequences resulted from these outbreaks. Our data confirm that medical students are important sources/vectors in rubella and measles outbreaks. We recommend that all medical students be immune to these viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-46
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990


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