Saturday - Jun 19, 2021

CDC Reports Measles Cases got its Highest Level after nearly Twenty Years


The Center for Disease and Control Prevention reported that an alarming number of people in the United States got infected with measles during the first quarter of the year. The records pose great concern because it is considered as the highest level of reported cases of measles that happened for the first four months after nearly twenty years. The last reported case of measles outbreak in United States was on 1996.

According to the Weekly Report of Morbidity and Mortality, there are around 129 measles cases and 13 outbreaks reported from January to April this year. The dramatic increase of cases is considered the highest since the reported outbreak in 1996 because so far there is only around nine measles cases recorded each year.

The highest incidence of infections was recorded in California with 58 cases followed by New York with 24 cases and Washington with 13.  Probably, the reason behind the outbreak in California is that it might have been brought to the country via international travel.  There are 17 cases of people who came from the Philippines who are believed to acquire the virus.

Early this year, Philippines also had serious outbreak in measles.  According to the reports, there are around 20,000 reported cases of measles in the said country.   Health experts believed that there is a high probability that visitor who came from the country, were able to bring the virus in the U.S.

The ones who get infected are those who were not able to get measles vaccination.  These are the persons who are either too young to get the vaccine.  Or they might also be people who have intentionally opted not to get the vaccine due to personal reason or out of ignorance.  Thus, CDC created an awareness drive to encourage people to become more aware of the importance of getting vaccination as early as possible.

Another concern is that there could be some doctors who are not acquainted with the ill effects and nature of measles. People cannot blame them since measles has never become a problem for nearly two decades since the last outbreak was reported in the United States.  According to the commentary of Dr. Julia Sammons which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Clinicians were not able to encounter cases of measles for a very long time in the U.S., thus, they may become unfamiliar with the salient features of the disease.

Measles is a contagious and infectious type of disease.  The person having measles may show signs of fever, cough, rashes and conjunctivitis.  In some rare cases, the disease may lead to incapacitating effects such as brain infection and or pneumonia, which can be lethal, if left untreated.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases of CDC mentioned that the last reported death in U.S. caused by measles occurred in 2005.  Dr. Schuchat believes that the efforts of CDC to eradicate measles throughout the U.S. were indeed very effective.  In fact, the CDC’s vaccine program for children contributes a high immunization rate that significantly reduces the occurrence of measles in the country for nearly 20 years.

The program provides free vaccination for 19 years old and below whose parents, guardians and or caregivers are incapable of procuring the vaccine for them.  CDC believed that the program was very effective in preventing the occurrence of measles in the U.S.  As a matter of fact, Dr. Schuchat believes that the program prevented the possibility of 323 million of potential measles cases and approximately 732,000 deaths. Hence, the government was able to save around $295 billion dollars.

Before, when vaccinations were not yet available, there are approximately 500, 000 people who got infected with the disease per year in the U.S.  The number fell by 60% when the disease was eradicated in 2000. From 2010, approximately around 155 cases of measles cases were recorded.  The data is significant since less than 1% of toddlers are at risks in acquiring the disease.

The vaccination program initiated by CDC recommends two doses of measles vaccine that should be given to children ages 12 months or 1 year of age.  The second dose should be given when they are between 4 to 6 years of age. For those who have infant’s ages 6 to 11 months, CDC recommends that they should get a vaccine first before they plan to travel abroad.

Dr. Shuchat also believes that parents and caregivers should be conscious about providing an up-to-date immunization for their children.  CDC also recommends that people born after 1956 should have an assurance that they have the immunity to fight measles and that they should be able to receive MMR vaccination particularly if they plan to travel in North or South America.

Indeed, the CDC’s move to provide an accessible measles vaccination for the underprivileged people has helped millions to be saved from the ill effects of measles.  For nearly 20 years, the movement have almost eradicated the disease.  However, the measles outbreak provides a crucial lesson for everyone.  Health care providers and professionals should be vigilant for the possibilities of an outbreak.  Thus, awareness, proper intervention and preventive techniques must be observed to stop any occurrence of such kind of illnesses.