Background On August 24, 2011, 31 US-bound refugees from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KL) arrived in Los Angeles. One of them was diagnosed with measles post-arrival. He exposed others during a flight, and persons in the community while disembarking and seeking medical care. As a result, 9 cases of measles were identified. Methods We estimated costs of response to this outbreak and conducted a comparative cost analysis examining what might have happened had all US-bound refugees been vaccinated before leaving Malaysia. Results State-by-state costs differed and variously included vaccination, hospitalization, medical visits, and contact tracing with costs ranging from $621 to $35,115. The total of domestic and IOM Malaysia reported costs for US-bound refugees were $137,505 [range: $134,531 - $142,777 from a sensitivity analysis]. Had all US-bound refugees been vaccinated while in Malaysia, it would have cost approximately $19,646 and could have prevented 8 measles cases. Conclusion A vaccination program for US-bound refugees, supporting a complete vaccination for US-bound refugees, could improve refugees' health, reduce importations of vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States, and avert measles response activities and costs.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.