The measles outbreak has now reached 51 cases. The seriousness of the cases has led to a widespread debate over vaccinating children against the disease. Many of the cases have been linked to the initial cases reported at Disneyland, but officials say that the outbreak is now beyond those individuals.
Initial cases were seen from Disneyland visitors, who were at the park between December 17 and 20. There were initially 10 confirmed cases, but it is spreading quickly. Measles is a highly contagious virus, and individuals are being asked to contact their doctors before attended anywhere for treatment if they suspect they have it.
The scenario is one that many health officials have worried about for some time. Many people are not vaccinated against the disease for various reasons. While one is due to children being too young, another one is the fact that many parents chose not to vaccinate their children. The MMR vaccine, which also protects against mumps and rubella, was linked to autism due to a fabricated study.
Since 2002, kindergarten vaccination rates have dropped in California. It now shows as a problem since the disease is spreading quickly. Orange County is the worst hit, but measles is spreading nationwide. There is also one confirmed case of a 22-month-old in Mexico. The baby was with parents visiting Disneyland during the initial outbreak window.
The outbreak of measles has now reached 51 confirmed cases. Out of those, 45 cases are in California, with 16 of them within Orange County. There are also 10 cases in San Diego County, eight in Los Angeles County, four in Alameda County, three in Ventura and two in San Bernardino and Riverside. Other states with confirmed cases include Washington state, Utah and Colorado.
According to health officials, the majority of people with measles were not vaccinated. Ten out of the nine in San Diego County had not received the vaccine. It has sparked debate over whether children should be vaccinated against the disease or not. At one time, the disease was considered no longer a problem for United States citizens, but the increase of travelers from Europe and Asia has led to cases being brought across.
Over the last decade, parents made the decision not to vaccinate their children due to the link to autism. A number of scientific studies have since discredited the initial findings, with the lead author admitting that his study had been fabricated. The vaccine is safe for all children, and they should receive it. The low level of vaccinations could be the reason for the outbreak souring so quickly over the weekend.
Measles is a very contagious and dangerous disease. Those most at risk are children under a year old and those with compromised immune systems. Between 1988 and 1991, there were 75 deaths due to an outbreak in California, most of those children under five. The MMR vaccine is given to children who are 12 months, and is highly recommended by health officials. It will help to keep the measles outbreak from many more than the current 51 cases.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Tom Bricker – Flickr License