The number of measles cases in the United States is now more than it is for a typical year. There are currently 84 confirmed cases, and there are expected to be more. Many health officials have stated that the lack of vaccinations against the disease over the last few years has caused this threat to become so serious.
Parents are continually being advised to have their children vaccinated as soon as they can. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that the measles outbreak has spread to more cases than they would see in a year. January is not even over yet, making many health officials worry.
Many of the current cases are linked to a Disneyland outbreak that started towards the end of 2014. People who visited Disneyland in late December are being encouraged to look out for the signs and symptoms. However, not all cases are linked. There are now outbreaks in Colorado, Washington, Utah and Oregon, and nine other states, according to the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Anne Schuchat.
There are many reasons parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children. During the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a report that showed a link between the vaccination and autism. That report has since been proven false, and the writer even said that he fabricated the results. However, many parents continue to mistrust the vaccination, which also protects against rubella and mumps. There are single vaccinations available, but they are more expensive and harder to get.
With the measles cases now at more than a typical year, health officials are encouraging California schools to act to prevent more exposure. Two California school systems have currently banned any unvaccinated students from attending schools to keep them and others safe. More may follow, including school systems around the country.
Children should receive the first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine when they are a year old. They should then receive a second dose a few years later. The two-dose vaccination is effective 97 perfect of the time, and there is no proof that it can cause autism.
Measles can be an extremely dangerous disease, especially in children and those with compromised immune systems. It can lead to hospitalization and death. It is also highly infections, and an unvaccinated patient can contract it hours after an infected person leaves a room, just by breathing in the virus.
The disease was thought to be eliminated in the United States in 2000. However, there have been a number of cases over recent years due to people travelling from Europe and Asia. A high amount of unvaccinated people have led to it spreading quickly, with 644 people infected in the United States last year. Many of those cases were in the Amish community, where most were unvaccinated.
The CDC is encourage people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. This is a serious measles outbreak, with cases reaching more than they would see in a typical year.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Binu Nair – Flickr License