Highlights: The Return of the Measles

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Telltale rash seen in a baby in the Philippines.
Credit: JAMES GOODSON/CDC
  • Measles infected more people in the United States in 2018 than any other year since the early 90’s.
  • There were more than 1200 cases reported in the United States and most of the cases where from the state of New York.
  • The New York outbreak took out the United States from the measles elimination status designated by the World Health Organization in 2000.
  • One notable outbreak in the United States occurred in 2014 and 667 cases were reported.
  • According to CDC, the best way to prevent and stop the disease is to get vaccinated.
  • Other countries also have a hard time fighting with measles. Congo had approximately 250,000 cases which makes it the largest outbreak in November 2019. There were more than 5000 deaths and most were children below 5 years old.
  • The recent United States measles outbreaks may have started by bringing in the virus through traveling. The infection spread easily to places where immunization rates are very low to prevent the outbreak. Immunization is only effective if at least 70 to 90 percent of the population, depending on how the infection is contagious, were vaccinated.
  • It has been reported that some parents delay or avoid vaccination for their children due to some religious or personal belief putting their communities at risk.
  • Many people do not understand the seriousness of the disease. Expert from Stanford University School of Medicine reported children with measles develop pneumonia.
  • Measles is also associated with the development of encephalitis, a dangerous brain inflammation. Measles can also destroy immune memory making a person vulnerable to other infection.
  • Measles outbreaks will likely occur in the future according to an expert from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health due to a number of communities where vaccination rates are very low.

Source:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/measles-cases-low-vaccination-rates-top-science-stories-2019-yir


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