Rising Measles Outbreak Threatens Lives in the US: Why Vaccination Rates are Declining

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

Since 2019, the rate of vaccinations against measles in the United States has been declining, putting more people at risk of illness, disability, and death from the disease. This is according to Jesse Ehrenfeld, president of the American Medical Association. The decline in vaccination rates has resulted in an outbreak of measles that has affected at least 64 people nationwide by late last week. This is more than the total number of cases reported for all of last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Measles is caused by a virus that can be easily transmitted 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 from measles can include dehydration, ear infections, croup and pneumonia.

Individuals are usually vaccinated against measles in early childhood with two doses of the MMR vaccine which provides lifetime protection against it. However, Ehrenfeld highlighted that lower vaccination rates in 2022-2023 school year put approximately 250,000 kindergartners at risk of measles infection. This regression could potentially erase the progress made in eliminating measles as a vaccine-preventable disease. It’s important for parents to ensure their children are up-to-date on their vaccinations and for healthcare providers to educate patients about the importance of immunizations.

Leave a Reply