In 2000, the measles was thought to be eliminated, but in recent years numbers have been high. Disneyland measles outbreak numbers are rising and experts are asking parents to vaccinate kids before contracting the controllable virus.
Thanks to visitors at Disneyland in California, America is facing a measles outbreak that hasn't been seen in a very long. Measles are entirely preventable through vaccinations, but many older adults and babies remain at risk due to inability to handle the shots. And health care providers in the U.S. are worried.
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According to SFGate, there have been 68 California cases reported in 2015 alone with 9 appearing between Wednesday and Friday. The article reports that of the reported cases, 9 came from the Bay Area alone. And the numbers are expected to grow since the incubation period maybe as long as 3 weeks.
In a teleconference with various media reporters, Dr. Gil Chavez of California's Department of Health's Center for Infectious Diseases noted that herd immunity is no longee protecting the spread of the disease. “Clearly from this particular outbreak we can anticipate additional cases. If we can get people who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated, that would be super helpful.”
California has a 90% immunization rate, but pockets around the state leave those vulnerable at risk. Public health experts are now preparing medical staff with more in-depth information on how to diagnose the disease and how to prevent a larger outbreak. Due to the long-term vaccination process, many younger medical staff missed witnessing the signs personally so the medical community has upped education on the sudden outbreak.
On January 23, 2014, the CDC released a health advisory notice describing the symptoms:
"It begins with a prodrome of fever, cough, coryza (runny nose), conjunctivitis (pink eye), lasting 2-4 days prior to rash onset. Measles can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing; infected people are contagious from 4 days before their rash starts through 4 days afterwards. After an infected person leaves a location, the virus remains viable for up to 2 hours on surfaces and in the air."
Kent State University professor of epidemiology Tara C. Smith provides a lot more statistics on American measles epidemics in the past 60 years. It turns out that not vaccinating doesn’t provide a lot of stability for non-vaccinated people, either. Ohio’s Amish community saw an outbreak in 2014 alone and a total of 644 cases between 23 separate outbreaks among 27 states.
And the combination of sanitation and nutrition is not a cure all, as Dr. Bob Sears proclaims.
Sears is a California pediatrician with a history of measles-related problems. In 2008, a patient of his returned from Switzerland with the disease and cost the state $100,000 to quarantine dozens of people and resulted in 11 cases.
It’s more than a “public health nightmare” when the numbers keep multiplying. And many parents would believe it’s more than just a boogeyman.
NBC News reports that measles has a 90 percent transmission rate with a chance of death if untreated. While some parents choose to not vaccinate children for reasons other than medical, many parents do not have that option. What about those children who can't be vaccinated due to medical reasons?
Fiona Stone knows the harsh reality of being unable to provide a simple shot. The mother-of-three told NBC News, "My middle child has an autoimmune condition, so when he was very young, he couldn't have any vaccines, because his immune system was so compromised from the medications he was on."
And that meant her other two children could not be vaccinated either. The weakened live virus in the vaccination could have been devastating for her son, Cameron.
While death is low with only 1 or 2 dying for every 1,000 contracting the disease, the risks were still too high in the Stone family. "We definitely avoided certain places...places where children congregate a lot."
Living Santa Barbara, California, meant a lot of hiding from places many children want to visit, like playgrounds or Chuck E. Cheese. She says that "you just have to think neurotically in those situations."
"He was on steroid therapy. He was on chemotherapy and putting those antibodies in his body would've been devastating to his body." Those pocket groups not contributing into the herd immunity have helped to distribute the disease to more than six states and Mexico.
Smith points out that while the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination has seen a 99 percent decrease, not everything is as it seems.
During the 1989-1991 outbreak, many children died due to age of vaccination and schedule, so the United States health departments revised the previous plan. Instead, children received “two doses in the schedule, and a push was made to get young children vaccinated with their first dose at 12-15 months of age.”
Prior to the outbreak that killed 123 people, only 60-70 percent of preschoolers had the MMR vaccine. Collective immunity strengthened and helped the elimination of endemic measles by 2000.
And the United States rate is still high in the 90 percent by the age of 3 and 95 by kindergarten. Part of the increase of vaccination requirements to attend public school. Ever tried to attend college without a chicken pox vaccination? It takes time to explain age means an introduction into the chicken pox virus without any chance of circumventing.
So those choosing to willingly allow their kids to remain unvaccinated for the sake of belief over medical health are putting the most vulnerable at risk for a study that 10 out of the 12 authors have retracted support for over a decade ago. The MMR vaccination does not cause autism and Dr. Andrew Wakefield was found to have acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” by the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council.
And what would Fiona Stone advise, even with her vaccinated children? "So my personal feeling is that for the betterment of everyone, is to have your child vaccinated."
After all, even with a vaccination, her children are at risk of getting chicken pox because of an outbreak at her children's school. And measles are easier to control because the vaccination works with the herd immunity.
Everyone should be safe from a “public health nightmare” after all.
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