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article imageFalling immunizations bring 15-year high for measles epidemic

By Nancy Houser     Oct 25, 2011 in Internet
Measles are one of the first diseases that occur when immunization coverage rates begin to fall, which leads to large-scale outbreaks. Fortunately, even though measles is a highly contagious viral disease, it is vaccine-preventable.
However, the anti-vaccine movement has played a big part in the current measles epidemic in the United States, Europe and the U.K. through fear mongering that vaccines cause autism. The consequences and health costs of choosing not to vaccinate children is dangerous, as the risk of death from measles is highest among young children.
Even more dangerous is the fact measles spreads from person to person through the air, one of the most dangerous viruses that exist today, according to Science-Based Medicine. Of all the patients with measles, over 40% had to become hospitalized.
Unvaccinated persons accounted for 105 (89%) of the 118 cases. Among the 45 U.S. residents aged 12 months−19 years who acquired measles, 39 (87%) were unvaccinated, including 24 whose parents claimed a religious or personal exemption and eight who missed opportunities for vaccination. Among the 42 U.S. residents aged ≥20 years who acquired measles, 35 (83%) were unvaccinated, including six who declined vaccination because of philosophical objections to vaccination. Of the 33 U.S. residents who were vaccine-eligible and had traveled abroad, 30 were unvaccinated and one had received only 1 of the 2 recommended doses.
MedPage Today announced that an outbreak of measles in Utah for only nine people ended up costing the local and state officials nearly a third of a million dollars. "...officials were forced to trace thousands of contacts; review immunization records of hospital workers and teachers; give post-exposure prophylaxis to nearly 400 people; and isolate nearly 200 people, Leniek reported at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America."
Head and shoulders of boy with measles on third day of rash.
Organizations such as CDC state that about 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated, to cover those who refuse it and to prevent large outbreaks of measles. Because of people refusing the vaccination for measles due to a fear of autism in Europe, the vaccination rates dropped to 50%. This has caused measles to become widespread in Europe, with many travelers bringing the disease into the United States and Africa. (Science-Based Medicine)
"As of August 26, 198 cases and 15 outbreaks of measles had been confirmed in the United States, the highest number since 1996 (CDC, unpublished data, 2011). Of the 198 cases, 179 (90%) were associated with U.S. residents traveling internationally." (CDC)
The LA Times reports that "Travelers, especially those to Europe and Southeast Asia, get most of the blame, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."
Measles are currently on the move, according to daily headlines which read, "Measles Outbreak in Europe, Especially France," "Measles Cases on Rise in Boston," and "Travelers of Measles Exposure." The most important thing a parent can do is to vaccinate for measles, one of the safest things to do. The fewer the vaccinations for measles, the faster the measles epidemic rises.
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