Measles Resurgence: The Dangers of Declining Vaccination Rates in the United States

Number of Measles Cases in Mid-March Exceeds Total for Previous Year

The year 2000 marked the end of an era for measles in the United States, with the disease thought to have been eliminated from our shores. However, recent events have brought this once-eliminated disease back into the spotlight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by late last week, at least 64 cases of measles had been recorded nationwide. This number is significantly higher than the total of 58 cases reported for all of last year.

This resurgence of measles has been a cause for concern among medical professionals, including Jesse Ehrenfeld, president of the American Medical Association (AMA). In an interview last week, Ehrenfeld expressed his worry over the declining rate of vaccinations against measles in the U.S., which he believes puts more people at risk of illness and death from this highly contagious disease.

Measles is caused by a virus that is typically located in the nose or throat and can spread easily through coughing, sneezing, or talking. Infected individuals can release infectious droplets into the air that others can breathe in, leading to transmission of the disease. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and watery eyes followed by a red rash that covers the body. Complications can include dehydration, ear infections, croup, and pneumonia.

The MMR vaccine provides lifetime protection against measles and two other diseases: mumps and rubella (German measles). Children are usually vaccinated against measles in early childhood with two doses of this vaccine. However, lower vaccination rates among kindergartners could potentially erase progress made in eliminating measles as a vaccine-preventable disease if not addressed promptly.

Ehrenfeld emphasized on how crucial it is to maintain high vaccination rates to prevent further outbreaks like this one from happening again.

It’s important for parents to keep their children up-to-date on their vaccinations and encourage others to do the same to help protect themselves and those around them from serious illnesses like measles.

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