Published: Thu, April 25, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Millions of children miss measles shots, creating outbreaks

Millions of children miss measles shots, creating outbreaks

Two doses of the measles vaccine are essential to protect children from the disease.

The states that have reported cases to CDC this year are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness and is spread from person to person through the air by breathing, sneezing or coughing.

Next came France and Britain, with more than 600,000 and 500,000 unvaccinated children, respectively, during the same period.

According to Health Canada, there have 39 confirmed cases of the measles in Canada this year, with reports in British Columbia, Quebec, the Northwest Territories, Ontario and Alberta.

Tens of thousands of cases have been reported in Africa and Europe.

The CDC also reports that of the 626 cases it has confirmed, 487 of those people were 19 years old or younger. Measles symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and a rash of red spots.

Measles' return may be an early warning sign of resurgences in other vaccine-preventable diseases such as rubella, chickenpox and bacterial meningitis, Schaffner said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, in a statement, said the rise in measles cases is "avoidable".

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For instance, the outbreak in NY, which was declared a public health emergency this month, began when an unvaccinated child became infected while visiting Israel, according to health officials.

The resurgence, which public health officials blamed in part on the spread of misinformation about the safety of vaccines, has been concentrated mainly in Washington state and NY with outbreaks that began late previous year.

Henrietta Fore, executive director at Unicef, said: "The measles virus will always find unvaccinated children". Among those who are unvaccinated, it may be because of personal beliefs and medical reasons.

The family had recently traveled internationally, which officials believe may have led them to be exposed to measles.

The Health Department issued another alert to providers Wednesday urging them to tell adults who have not completed a two-dose series of the measles vaccine or do not have immunization records and live in affected areas to get the shots.

People born before January 1, 1969 are considered to be immune because measles used to be very common, and so this age group does not need the measles immunisations. Two doses are about 97% effective.

Symptoms of measles appear seven to 14 days after a person is infected.

The MMR vaccine can prevent infection but discredited research 20 years ago that erroneously linked MMR to autism has stopped some people from trusting the vaccine. Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the appearance of a rash.

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