In 2019, there have already been 228 cases of measles in 12 states that have been confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The six outbreaks, with three or more cases, are in California, Illinois, Texas, Washington, and New York.
The CDC said that the cases have come from unvaccinated American’s who traveled and brought measles back from other countries. This is significant because only 63 cases were reported for the entire year in 2018, 118 cases in 2017, 86 cases in 2016, and 188 cases in 2015.
In 2012 the World Health Assembly endorsed a Global Vaccine Action Plan to eliminate measles by 2020. The plan was successful with the incidence of measles decreasing 83% and annual estimated measle deaths decreasing 80%, an estimated 2.1 million deaths. Despite these promising results, three regions are experiencing a large measle resurgence.
Complications of Measles and Spread of Disease
The highly contagious airborne disease, is spread easily through a sneeze or cough. The CDC said that to stop outbreaks, 95 percent of the population should be immunized. “Each year that children weren’t vaccinated in Venezuela, the pool of people whom measles could potentially infect grew,” CDC officials said. “And the country became fertile ground for the virus.” Measles is preventable through vaccination, but it still remains a common disease in many parts of the world including areas in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
Measles can be serious for all ages, but children younger than 5-years-old and adults older than 20-years-old are more likely to have complications. These can include ear infections and diarrhea. Measles can also
The CDC named Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) as another possible complication for those who suffer from measles. Although it is a very rare complication, it is a fatal disease of the central nervous system that results from a measles virus infection. SSPE generally develops 7 to 10 years after a person has measles, even though the person seems to have fully recovered from the illness. Although many diseases are vaccine-preventable, several are still in the United States or only a plane ride away, CDC officials said.
Measles Vaccination Complications
The National Vaccine Information Center, formerly known as Dissatisfied Parents Together (DPT) says that many Americans report harassment for trying to make “informed” vaccine choices for their families. The dissatisfaction has partially to do with public education which many children have been denied
It may feel like a double-edged sword for parents attempting to make an informed decision since all vaccines carry a small risk of life-threatening reactions. One of the most common is a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This affects around one per million children. Other vaccinations can cause a bowel blockage in one per 20,000 babies in the U.S.
Vaccines ProCon.org says that the chickenpox vaccine can lead to pneumonia in rare cases. There is also a small possiblility that the flu vaccine may be associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a disorder in which the person’s immune system attacks parts of the peripheral nervous system, in about one or two per million people vaccinated. Although the risks is not identified in percentages, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) may be linked to learning disabilities, asthma, autism, diabetes, chronic inflammation and other disabilities.
Benefits of Vaccinations
The arguments for those for vaccinations and those against are both strong with both sides are passionate about their beliefs. Vaccines have proven to save the lives of children with them being 90-99% effective in preventing disease. The CDC estimated that 732, 000 American children were saved from death and approximately 322 million cases of childhood illness were prevented between 1994 and 2014.
“Global efforts to eliminate measles continue to make progress,” said Dr. Rebecca Martin, Director of CDC’s Center for Global Health. “Despite these gains, multiple regions have experienced large measles outbreaks in 2017, primarily due to low vaccination coverage nationally or in geographic pockets, illustrating how fragile gains in disease elimination can be.”
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