Measles Cases Soar Above 300 in Nationwide Outbreak Fueled by Anti-vaxxers
Written by Christine Jiang
According to federal health officials, measles cases have soared nationwide to 314. This problem is especially serious in the United States. Of the 50 states, 44 states have experienced crises and 26 states are in a state of high tension. New York issued an emergency ban to prohibit some people from entering public places. On social media people have been increasingly discussing this infectious disease that had previously been completely eliminated by the United States since 2000.
What is measles?
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the measles virus. Initial symptoms typically include fevers often greater than 40 °C (104 °F), coughing, a runny nose, and inflamed eyes. A red, flat rash can start on the face and then spread to the rest of the body three to five days after the start of symptoms. Common complications include diarrhea, middle ear infection, and pneumonia. Less commonly, seizures, blindness, or inflammation of the brain may occur.
Measles is an airborne disease which spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of infected people. It may also be spread through contact with saliva or nasal secretions. 9 out of 10 people who are not immune and share living space with an infected person will be infected. However, most people do not get the disease more than once.
How serious is the problem?
Measles is far more serious than most think. Although scientists have been studying it for a long time, there are still no drugs can be used against measles. Once the disease develops, it is almost impossible to cure. The only way to prevent it is by vaccination. As long as the vaccination rate reaches 95%, safe isolation can be conducted.
Why are people not vaccinated?
Some parents are reluctant to vaccinate their children because they are concerned that the vaccine can have unpredictable effects on the child. These "anti-vaxxers" claim that the vaccine has serious side effects such as allergies, epilepsy, and even autism, although there is no scientific basis to these claims. As such, the credibility the claims are doubtable.
In a 2019 report by the World Health Organization, “vaccine hesitation” was officially included in the “Top Ten Global Health Threats” alongside HIV, showing how much harm it truly causes, especially to innocent children.
This damage can be avoided.
Although it is impossible to guarantee that there is for sure no side effects to the vaccine, it is not worth refusing vaccination and getting sick over such a unlikely event.
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Why did measles make a comeback?
Since the successful development of the measles vaccine in 1963, countries have gradually been eliminating the source of the infection by establishing an immune network in society through vaccination. By the year 2000, the United States had not found the measles virus for 12 months. The US then announced that it had completely eliminated the virus, and European countries subsequently issued a statement. However, the network that had been built little by little over 40 years has been disintegrating in recent years.
In 2008, only 89% of French two-year-old children were vaccinated. As of 2011, France has reported 22,000 measles patients. In 2014, a patient carrying measles travelled to Disneyland in California, USA. A month later, 111 people had been infected with the virus, and the vaccination rate in the infected areas had not been up to standard. In 2015, WHO data showed that the vaccination rate in Romania was 88%, which is lower than the safe rate of 95%. Two years later, it became the country with the largest number of measles cases in Europe.
In January 2019, WHO data showed that the global measles epidemic had rose by 30%.
- Mary Kekatos Health Reporter For Dailymail.com. “Measles Cases Soar above 300 in Nationwide Outbreak Fueled by Anti-Vaxxers, CDC Says.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 25 Mar. 2019, www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6849207/Measles-cases-soar-300-nationwide-outbreak-fueled-anti-vaxxers-CDC-says.html.
- “Measles.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Apr. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measles.