CORPUS CHRISTI, TEX. With one of the worst measles outbreaks in the country hitting Corpus Christi, health officials are urging the thousands of college students expected to arrive for spring break to get vaccinated first.
Kansas University students and Lawrence residents who plan to travel to the Padre Island seashore near Corpus Christi may consider being vaccinated if they have not been recently, a KU official said.
Dr. Charles Yockey, chief of staff at KU's Watkins Student Health Center, said students who have not been vaccinated since 1980 may want to consider being vaccinated if they plan to travel to south Texas.
However, a measles vaccination usually takes six weeks to be fully effective, he said. KU's spring break begins March 8.
Vaccinations at Watkins are free to students enrolled in at least seven hours of class work.
Measles vaccinations also are available for a small fee at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, 336 Mo.
Since January, the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health Department has confirmed 191 measles cases. Dr. William Atkinson of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta called the outbreak one of the nation's ``most vigorous.''
Meanwhile, 150,000 students are expected to hit the Gulf coast beaches around Corpus Christi in the next few weeks.
``We're not preparing to immunize any student who comes to Corpus Christi, but we recommend they be immunized two weeks before arriving because it takes that long for the vaccine to take effect,'' said Annette Sultemeier, the county Public Health Department's nursing director.