Bad viruses travel fast: Measles vaccine important for travelers
Follow me at @JohnRossMD The United States was declared free from ongoing measles transmission in 2000. So why are we still having measles attacks? An outbreak of measles is currently raging in Minnesota. In 2015, 125 cases of measles occurred in California, and in 2014, 383 people were infected with measles in an Amish community in Ohio. How measles outbreaks happen There are several reasons why we are still at risk for measles outbreaks. Travelers may get infected overseas, and bring the measles virus back into the country with them unawares. The 2015 measles outbreak in Ohio began when two infected members of the Amish community returned home from typhoon relief work on the Philippines. The California measles outbreak in 2014 started at two Disney theme parks, perhaps after the virus was brought there by a foreign tourist. In measles, there is an unusually long delay between infection and the development of the rash and other symptoms, typically about two weeks. Measles virus is also highly contagious; patients start to spread the virus to other people about four days before the rash develops. These features make it possible for measles to spread quickly through an unsuspecting population. The final component to measles outbreaks is inadequate immunity. Many American adults have only received a single dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is only 93% effective at preventing measles. Since 1989, the recommendation has been to give two doses of MMR, wh...
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(This post has been updated with relevant recent information.) The United States was declared free from ongoing measles transmission in 2000. But we may be at risk for joining the UK Greece, Albania, and the Czech Republic, four countries recently stripped of measles elimination status by the World Health Organization. Since the beginning of 2019, more than 1,234 measles cases have been reported in 31 states, with active outbreaks in upstate New York and El Paso, Texas. New York has just declared the end of its yearlong outbreak, which required a massive public health response to control. Minnesota had a major measles outb...
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