Measles Outbreak Hits New York City

Measles Outbreak Hits New York City

In New York City, an outbreak of measles has made nearly 20 people ill. The majority of victims have been either children who were too young to have undergone vaccinations yet or whose parents had chosen not to vaccinate them. However, several of the patients had gotten one documented dose of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.

Most individuals get their first dose just after they have their first birthday. The one shot gives immunity against measles to over 95 percent of people that receive it. The second shot is given at about the age of 4. The double dosage treatment gives a lifetime of immunity to the vast majority of people.

Yet there is a tiny amount of people who are vaccinated who never end up creating any measles antibodies. It is basically unknown why this happens but when it does it is called primary vaccine failure. This happens quite rarely but it does occur. There is also the chance of a person who at first appeared to have immunity but lost it later in his or her life. It also has been found that with the dropping vaccination rates, this has allowed measles to circulate and has been leaving individuals who do not have the adequate amount of antibodies in their bodies vulnerable.

The rates of falling vaccinations have become a pressing concern in the public health system. Measles frequency fell almost 100 percent after the vaccine was introduced to the public back in the early 1960’s. From the years 2000 to 2007, the United States had averages of just under 65 cases of measles each year, and most of these cases had come from out of the country. Yet in 2013 the frequency rate of measles almost tripled and unlike prior years, most of the patients had got sick from the disease right here in the U.S. This showed that the outbreak of measles was an extremely serious nationwide problem and it is probably only going to get worse. The rates of vaccination in America are at about 90 percent at this time, but in the United Kingdom, vaccinations have dropped to levels under 80 percent and the disease has become an endemic.

Individuals who refuse to have the MMR vaccine do not seem to understand that when the human body is exposed to a small amount of the measles virus during childhood makes the human body put out shielding antibodies that last well into the seventh or eighth decade of life. Deactivated vaccines, like the one that is given for whooping cough, are much more likely to lose their efficiency as time passes. This is why a person needs to have to have a booster shot later in life. The second shot given of the MMR vaccine is not technically considered to be a booster, but instead is a backup in case the first shot failed to work properly.

One possible explanation for why MMR vaccine lasts so long in the body is that the disease never quite leaves the human body. Most infections enter a dormant phase in order to protect themselves from the body’s immune system. They are able to maintain such a status indeterminately, just waiting for the body to have a slip in its defenses. There has not yet been any hidden form of measles found in humans, but that is always possible.

An outbreak of measles has made nearly 20 people sick in New York City. The majority of victims have been either children who were too young to have undergone vaccinations yet or whose parents had chosen not to vaccinate them. However, several of the patients had gotten one documented dose of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine but that apparently did not stop them from getting the disease.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

Global News

Slate News

The Examiner

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