The measles virus is spreading again in the United States, even though a vaccine that provides nearly lifelong immunity has long been available. In the past few weeks there have been hundreds of people exposed to a child with the virus at a health facility in Northern California; Our state is one of 17 jurisdictions with reported Measles cases in 2024higher than in recent years.

Measles is an extremely transmissible pathogen: on average, one infected person infects one person 12 to 18 unvaccinated people. The airborne virus can remain in suspended aerosols long after someone has left a room, and it usually takes one to two weeks for common symptoms such as a rash, high fever, watery eyes, cough and a runny nose to appear.

Infections can also lead to this Immune amnesiaYour immune system becomes better against measles and worse against other infections that you were previously protected against. In rare cases it is also leads to deathmore common in children than adults, due to respiratory or neurological complications, including a type of brain swelling in young children that can occur years after the first measles infection.

Before the measles vaccine was introduced and approved in 1963, the Citations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention On an annual average, there are 549,000 cases (with millions more likely unreported), 48,000 hospitalizations, nearly 500 deaths, and 1,000 people with chronic disabilities. By 2000, measles was considered eradicated in the United States thanks to vaccination. But cases involving people who came here from other countries, combined with low vaccination rates, are causing outbreaks among unvaccinated people.

Politics can make the problem worse. Last month in Florida, after an outbreak at an elementary school, the state’s surgeon general left the decision to the parents whether they should send their children to school, citing a high level of community immunity as a reason for not following usual protocols. This cavalier reaction risked a much worse outbreak. A more standardized response would have required unvaccinated students and staff to be vaccinated and quarantined for 21 days (the period during which the disease could develop).

It might be tempting for Californians to dismiss this as a Florida problem. But our state has a measles time bomb on its hands. Ideally, communities should at least be hit 95% vaccination to achieve herd immunity. But a current one nationwide survey noticed, that Southern California 350 schools alone are missing the desired vaccination threshold, meaning a single case of measles in these schools could easily lead to an outbreak among the unvaccinated.

Misinformation surrounding the measles vaccine has been an issue for years. A exposed But an influential 1998 research paper in the Lancet, a British medical journal, suggested a link between the vaccine, which babies can receive as young as 12 months old, and autism. The paper was retracted in 2010 (and the authors are said to have signed on later). Fraud). But the vaccination rates against measles dropped in England in the early 2000s.

In California a 2014 Outbreak at Disneyland was associated with more than 140 cases in North America, with falling vaccination rates being a contributing factor. A recent systematic review of the reasons why parents refuse to vaccinate their children with measles found Fear of autism the most frequently cited concern. Those who were hesitant were more likely to cite the internet and social media as sources of vaccine information than those who were not hesitant.

In recent years hesitation has increased grown as misinformation about the COVID vaccine has raised doubts about routine vaccinations among some parents. The vaccination exemptions in the 2022/23 school year reached the highest level Ever-reported cases in the U.S. are increasing in 40 states and Washington, DC, and 10 states have achieved clearance rates above 5%. According to the CDC, with a 93.1% vaccination rate among eligible children, approximately 250,000 kindergarten children are at risk of contracting measles.

Fortunately, we have seen in our own state that vaccine hesitancy can be reversed. Marin County had to the lowest In 2011, the state’s measles vaccination rate was at an all-time high and now there is a vaccination rate almost 99% among children coming to school. State contact tracing efforts increased during COVID-19, including the California connected program, have proven useful in tracing the contacts of measles cases.

But as recent fears remind us, we are still not where we need to be with vaccination. After the Disneyland outbreak, California passed a law in 2015 to remove the “personal belief” exemption from required childhood vaccinations, meaning people must provide a medical reason to refuse them. The law expanded the criteria for medical exemptions, which increased in the year following their passage. Although the state has tightened the medical exemptions with a new law In 2019, as the pandemic disrupted routine immunizations and homeschooling increased, the proportion of kindergarten students unaware of vaccinations increased through 2021.

Vaccination exemption laws vary greatly across the USwith some states only allowing exemptions for medical purposes, others also allowing exemptions for religious purposes, and still others Philosophical exceptions to. And outbreaks from one state can quickly spread across borders.

That means Florida Department of Health decisions and vaccine hesitancy everywhere can affect all of us. California must close the gap for communities that are not well protected against measles.

Abraar Karan is a physician and infectious disease researcher at Stanford University, where Julie Parsonnet is a professor of infectious diseases and of epidemiology and population health.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *