According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles is still a threat in the United States. However, recent outbreaks show that it is still a threat around the world as well. The number cases of measles in South Australia and the United States has tripled, mainly because people are not vaccinated against the disease.
The reasons for not being vaccinated differ around the world. For some, it is a choice to try and build immune systems, or due to the lack of knowledge about the disease. In the United Kingdom, many parents from 1996 chose to avoid the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, due to a report that the vaccine was linked to autism. While this report has been proven false, there is still much more that is unknown and parents still prefer to avoid it. It is possible for parents to get the single vaccines, but this is not affordable for all.
2013 has seen the number of cases of measles rise to 175, with 20 of those requiring hospitalization. This is three times the amount in previous years. These cases are imported, as measles no longer spreads around the general public in the United States, unlike the flu. The people of Seattle are urged to look out for symptoms after an infant has been hospitalized with the disease. The infant was returning from a trip from South Korea and was too young to be vaccinated.
According to the CDC, the measles cases have tripled because people are not being vaccinated. There is nothing wrong with the vaccine itself. 98 percent of people who have confirmed cases had not been vaccinated, either when they were children or as they have gotten older. 25 percent of those cases involved travel outside of the United States. Europe is among the highest for cases due to the lower vaccination rate.
The MMR vaccine is also available in the United States and should be given to children twice by the time they reach the age of six. The first is between 12 months and 15 months, and the second between four and six years. If children are leaving the country, they can be vaccinated from six months, but they will still need the two vaccines from 12 months onwards.
Those who have chosen to avoid vaccination usually live within the same community. Among those infected, 15 were from the same megachurch in Texas, one of whom was a four month old baby.
Symptoms of measles includes a runny nose, a cough, and a rash with a fever. Most patients complain of being generally unwell. Conjunctivitis, where the eyes are infected, can also occur when a patient is suffering from the disease. It is highly contagious between five days before the rash appears and four days afterwards.
The CDC recommends that adults and parents ensure they and their children are vaccinated against the disease. Measles can be extremely dangerous and life-threatening. The number of cases of measles has tripled this year due to people not getting vaccinated, and there are worries about the number of cases next year.
By Alexandria Ingham