Measles Outbreaks in the U.S. at Their Highest Since 1996
According to an article on CNN, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 2013 is slated to be the worst year for measles outbreak in the U.S. in more than a decade.
The decision of whether or not to vaccinate your child is probably at the top of the list for hot button parenting issues of the decade, right up there with breastfeeding. While some say vaccines are more bad than good or religious affiliations prevent them from vaccinating their youngsters, the number of outbreaks that have occurred so far this year are undeniably staggering; The CDC reports that there were 159 cases of measles in the U.S. from January 1 through August 24.
As CNN’s medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says, the fact that there is even a single case of measles should be alarming, as they thought they “had it licked” in the U.S. back in 2000. If the trend continues, Dr. Gupta says the numbers will only go up.
While some may deny the connection between the trend in not vaccinating kids and this rise, it’s hard to argue with the facts. In fact, as Dr. Gupta says, the lack of vaccinations “is at the heart of this debate.”
Nearly two-thirds of the reported cases happened in three outbreaks in communities that are known to have people who don’t vaccinate their children for philosophical or religious reasons. In addition, 92 percent of those who got the measles were not vaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. The largest outbreak was in New York, where 58 people got measles in a community where many people refused to vaccinate for religious reasons.
Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, says, "The complications of measles are not to be toyed with, and they're not altogether rare." In fact, the CDC notes that one to three out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. to get the measles will die as a result, even if the victim receives the very best of care. Creech also says he is concerned that younger pediatricians might not even recognize the symptoms because this disease was nearly gone for so long.
For all of the concerned parents, the CDC says that Measles usually begins with a fever, which can run very high, followed by a cough, runny nose and red eyes. Soon after that, a rash with tiny, red spots will start at the head and spread to the rest of the body. This rash can last a week and coughing can last for up to 10 days.