Measles elimination status in the US is in danger due to the outbreak

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The most recent outbreak of measles is threatening the United States’ elimination status, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report published Thursday.
Despite occasional outbreaks, the U.S. has been able to maintain its elimination status.
However, the rapid increase in the number of measles cases during the first quarter of 2024 “represents a renewed threat to the U.S. elimination status,” according to the CDC report.
As of April 4, 2024, there have been 113 cases of measles reported in the U.S.
This is not the first time that the measles elimination status has been at risk.
A CDC report in November found that exemptions for routine childhood vaccination among U.S. kindergartners are at their highest levels ever.
One dose of the measles vaccine is 93% effective at preventing infection if exposed to the virus.
“We’ve had a vaccine that has been in use for a very long time and is shown to be incredibly effective in keeping our elimination status of measles going,” Brownstein said.

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A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released on Thursday states that the United States’ measles elimination status is in jeopardy due to the most recent outbreak.

After a lengthy and incredibly successful vaccination campaign that began in 1963, the measles was thought to have been eradicated in the United States. S. in 2000, indicating that the illness is no longer ongoing.

While there are sporadic outbreaks, the U.S. s. has managed to hold onto its status as eliminated. Travel abroad and under- or unvaccinated populations have both been linked to an increase in cases.

But the sharp rise in measles cases in the first quarter of 2024 “represents a renewed threat to the U.S. s. elimination status “as stated in the CDC report.

There had been 113 cases of measles reported in the United States as of April 4, 2024. s. Compared to the average number of cases observed during the same period from 2020 to 2023, this number is at least 17 times higher.

Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital who also contributes to ABC News, said, “What was surprising about 2024 is that we’ve seen a significant increase.”. “It’s concerning because the number points to a trend that is not favorable to us, a virus that we have successfully contained and for which we have a workable vaccination. “.

He continued, “We’re seeing an unfortunate rise that is actually preventable, and this outbreak highlights the fact that the measles is unfortunately not over yet.”.

A number of localized outbreaks this year, including at a children’s hospital and daycare center in Philadelphia, an elementary school in Florida, and a migrant center in Chicago, have contributed to the dramatic increase in measles cases. Up to 90% of close contacts who are not immune can contract the disease from a measles patient due to its high contagiousness.

Dr. Paul Offit, an attending physician in the infectious diseases division at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and director of the Vaccine Education Center, noted that nearly everyone in the U.S. S. who contracted the measles in recent years either went abroad to a nation where the disease has not been eradicated or were in close proximity to someone who did, and that immigrants are not to blame for the occasional outbreaks.

He informed ABC News that more than 20 years have passed since the United States’ elimination status was announced. s. ought not to perceive it as much of a resurgent threat as they do.

Offit stated, “It’s getting worse; I think it’s fair to say that it is getting worse.”. “As per [the CDC’s] definition, take a look. We still consider measles . to be eradicated even though there hasn’t been a 12-month period of continuous measles transmission. But we’re making progress. “.

The measles elimination status has been in jeopardy previously as well. 1,274 cases were reported in 2019 as a result of an outbreak that affected New York State, New York City, and Washington State.

The latest data coincides with a decline in childhood immunization rates. A November CDC report revealed that exemptions from the regular childhood vaccine among U. S. Kindergarten enrollment is at an all-time high.

According to the report, 93 percent of kindergarten students received certain routine childhood vaccinations, such as the MMR vaccine for the 2022–2023 academic year. This is comparable to the previous school year, but it is less than the 94 percent recorded in the 2020–21 academic year and the 95 percent recorded in the 2019–20 academic year, both of which occurred before the COVID-19 pandemic. For roughly a decade, the latter percentage served as the norm.

According to Offit, a significant proportion of parents opt out of giving their kids the MMR vaccination. There are a number of reasons, such as forgetting how dangerous measles used to be before vaccinations and vaccine hesitancy stemming from the COVID-19 vaccine influencing the decision to receive additional vaccinations.

Three to four million cases of measles were reported annually in the ten years before the first vaccination was introduced in 1963. This resulted in 48,000 hospital admissions and 400–500 fatalities.

“The first step is to identify the fear that is preventing them from getting vaccinated, as information can usually allay that fear,” Offit stated. We play a risky game when it comes to vaccinations, so I can understand why some people may be reluctant to get them. It’s essentially a Russian roulette game, really. “.

Despite the outbreak, the CDC and experts agree that anyone who has had two doses of the MMR vaccine or who has previously contracted the measles is essentially protected for life.

The MMR vaccine is currently advised to be given in two doses, the first when the child is 12 to 15 months old and the second when the child is 4 to 6 years old. When administered, the measles vaccine has a 93% efficacy rate in preventing infection in case of virus exposure. 97 percent of people respond well to two doses, according to the CDC.

“We have an extremely effective vaccine that has been in use for a very long time that has allowed us to maintain our measles elimination status,” Brownstein stated. It’s not about the vaccine per se, though. It is not relevant to ask if the vaccine is effective here. The question here is whether or not people have to put in work to receive the vaccination. “.”.

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