Thursday, February 19, 2015

What are you seeing or reading about measles?

One article, "Measles May Be in U.S. to Stay, 15 Years After It Left" one of our members found here: By Anna Edney and Michelle Fay Cortez January 26, 2015 -

Here is a summary: 

Measles could once again become native in the U.S., as an outbreak in California linked to Disneyland has put a spotlight on a growing failure to vaccinate that’s helping the disease to spread.

While 94 percent of California kindergarteners were fully inoculated against the virus last school year, in some pockets of California, as much as a quarter of children are undervaccinated
This puts these children at risk of both contracting the disease and becoming a nexus of future spread.

Some facts cited in the article:

In 1990, 3 of every 1,000 children who got measles died from it.  

The virus is one of the most contagious pathogens known to man, and causes more serious complications in about three of 10 patients, according to the CDC.
It was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000
Outbreaks are instead started by people visiting from outside the U.S. or who return and bring it back.

The virus is highly contagious, spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. It is also insidious, with patients become infectious four days before the telltale rash appears.

The first vaccine became available in 1963, with the current combination shot approved in 1971. A single injection is 93 percent effective, rising to 97 percent for those who get both doses.

While the poor have long had lower rates of vaccination because of the cost, the number of unvaccinated children in other communities who don’t get their shots is growing because of worries vaccines are linked to autism. Doctors have debunked any such link.

Health experts fear "Re-establishing transmission": 

Re-establishing transmission would mean there is sustained chain of infection among U.S. citizens and the disease can no longer be considered eliminated. The CDC warned in 2012 that without high vaccination rates, measles could return.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said measles re-establishing itself is less likely than the U.S. developing more frequent outbreaks from imported cases.

“You have parents who don’t allow their children to be vaccinated, and they’re clustered in certain areas,” Fauci said in an interview. The parents reinforce their philosophy of not wanting to get the kids vaccinated. So you have a cadre of kids who aren’t vaccinated and someone comes in from a foreign country that does have endemic measles, and you get outbreaks.’’

While there have been a few hundred cases at most documented in the U.S. each year since 2000, 2014 saw a sharp increase to 644 cases representing 23 outbreaks, the CDC said.

The largest outbreak last year occurred among non-vaccinated Amish communities in Ohio where 382 people caught measles. California took the runner-up title with 60 residents falling sick in just the first five months of the year.


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