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article imageMeasles now in seven states and Mexico — Vaccinations urged

By Karen Graham     Jan 24, 2015 in Health
The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging parents to get their children vaccinated against measles in light of the outbreak that began at Disneyland in California. The virus has now spread to six additional states and Mexico.
With more than 80 cases of measles in seven U.S. states, from California to as far away as Nebraska and Washington state, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the those who have contracted the disease were aged 10 months to 57 years old, with only a very few being vaccinated against the virus.
California health officials have confirmed 68 cases of measles in the state since the outbreak started in December at Disneyland in Anaheim. Officials are also saying the cases are linked to an international visitor or even more than one who visited the theme park. Fourteen additional cases reported out-of-state include five in Arizona, three in Utah, two in Washington state and one each in Oregon, Colorado, Nevada and Mexico.
The outbreak has reignited a debate across the country over the safety of the measles vaccine. Measles was considered officially eradicated in the United States in 2000., despite being widespread in other parts of the world. The anti-vaccine movement in the U.S. has created fear in people over the use of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, saying it causes autism, even though a number of studies have ruled out a link between the two.
The Los Angeles Times blasted proponents of the anti-vaccine movement the other day, calling those who subscribe to the movement "dolts," and the school administrators and public health officials who have gone along with the anti-vaccine proponents "inexcusably complacent."
Carlos Villatoro, a spokesman for the California State Department of health, was asked if the anti-vaccine movement contributed to the latest outbreak. In an email, he answered: "We think that unvaccinated individuals have been the principal factor."
Barbara Loe Fisher is the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a group that believes in calling for "informed consent" for parents regarding vaccinations. She says the Disneyland measles outbreak has created a "media frenzy. There's a lot of name-calling going on rather than talking about substantive policy issues," she said.
There is no specific treatment measles, and most people recover within a few weeks. But in poor and malnourished children or those people with reduced immune responses, measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia and even death, according to the CDC.
More about measles outbreak spreads, six more states, Mexico, international visitor, Vaccinations
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