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Measles Gaining Momentum in the U.S.

measles cases and vaccines

Not just unvaccinated traveling kids at risk

We’ve heard that measles cases are popping up in the U.S. in unvaccinated children, but the CDC is reporting that the trend is escalating, with double the cases so far this year (January to April) than would be expected from an entire year.

The World Health Organization, which had at one point thought the world would soon be virtually rid of measles, has moved the date of that goal to 2015 (which, from the reports now sounds like an unattainable goal).

Kids in the U.S. who are not vaccinated and travel abroad are the most likely to be infected and spread the virus. The LA Times noted a case in 2008 in which an unvaccinated seven-year-old boy from San Diego travelled with his parents to Switzerland, caught the measles, brought it back and infected his siblings, kids at his school and at his doctor’s office.  According to the Times, “The outbreak forced about 70 children to be quarantined at home.” The parents had chosen not to vaccinate him or his siblings.

In California this year, every month more cases of measles are reported than in the previous month.

Public health officials say that kids who travel are at risk, but isn’t that a two way street?

Can you really say that traveling kids are the ones who need to be cautious? In the case of the San Diego boy, for example, any unvaccinated baby or child who came in contact with him was at risk for contracting the infectious disease (approximately 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to the virus will be infected).

Kids usually get the measles vaccine with the MMR at their first year visit, but with more parents opting out or delaying the window of vulnerability is only growing.

This year so far there have been 98 cases reported in the U.S. this year, but with the cases snowballing, California officials have said they find it “worrisome.”

Image: flickr

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