MMR vaccination call following high numbers of measles cases

Henrietta Brewer
May 25, 2019

"Additionally, we should consider measures to improve public health in these countries, for instance, foundations that are committed to global health enhancement could allocate funding for vaccination efforts in these countries", it said.

"Since about 1989, two doses of measles vaccine have been the standard but there may be individuals who only received one dose during childhood or failed to obtain a second dose", Adalja said.

As a result, a handful of people who get both doses of the MMR vaccine may still get sick after being exposed to the virus. Over one-third of them are kids under five years of age, and as a whole over 70 percent of the confirmed measles cases have struck individuals who were never vaccinated against it.

States reporting measles cases this year are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington. State health officials in CT said one case there was a resident who had visited NY.

The CDC said last month that 72% of the people infected with measles were unvaccinated. The level of protection is around 99 per cent after a second dose.

She added: "Measles can kill and it is incredibly easy to catch, especially if you are not vaccinated". In addition, unvaccinated United States residents traveling internationally are at risk of acquiring the disease.

Scientists aren't entirely sure why certain individuals who are fully vaccinated will get the measles.

Where most people's immune systems build a defensive shield to recognize and fight the disease after vaccination, some people's immune systems may not develop enough antibodies to attack the virus. There has also been some spread into the wider population, such as those who may have missed out on the MMR vaccine when they were younger. Vaccination only takes a few minutes but will protect you from a nasty disease which could result in life changing complications or even death.

Another group that may want to consider getting a booster, according to Stork, is older adults. State health authorities have posted a list of times and locations where people may have been exposed to measles.

The fact of the matter is that the measles was eradicated in the United States as recently as the year 2000, and it would likely have remained that way without huge numbers of parents ignoring common sense and forgoing their responsibility to ensure their child doesn't come down with an illness that should have been gone long ago.

You can check with your GP whether or not you are fully up to date.

At the rate of the current outbreaks, it's better to be overprotected than put yourself and others at risk for infection. Regardless, it's important to get vaccinated anyway to help contain the outbreaks, health experts say.

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