Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can last up to ten 10 days but in some cases can prove fatal.
Thanks to a highly effective vaccine measles cases have dramatically reduced over the years. But there has been a scary rise in numbers in certain U.S. states.
Now health officials in Washington state have declared a state of emergency and are urging immunization as other states also work to contain the numbers of measles cases.
A statement issued by Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said the number of cases created an “extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties,” adding, “The measles virus is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children.”
Numbers expected to rise
In southwestern Washington the number of cases have soared to 50 and cases are predicted to rise with lower-than-normal vaccination rates.
Along with Washington and New York, at least seven other states — Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Colorado, California and Georgia — have reported measles cases this year.
The measles virus travels through the air. It can be contracted without even being near a person with measles because it stays for up to two hours in the air of a room where a person with the virus has been.
Single leading killer
The majority of those infected are children with most of the confirmed cases affecting those under 10 years old.
Children under the age of one cannot be immunized.
The measles mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) was introduced in 1963. Prior to this measles was the single leading killer of children in the world.
Pediatrician Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine, told NPR there is a very aggressive anti-vaccine lobby throughout the Pacific Northwest.
This has effectively driven up the rates of vaccine noncompliance, leaving scores of children vulnerable to the infection, he added.
Vaccines and autism
The groups often spread the idea there is a link between vaccines and autism. A claim that has been wholly refuted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more important information on this potentially deadly virus watch the short video below.
What do you think about the MMR vaccination and those that choose not to get their children vaccinated? Feel free to leave your comments on our Facebook page. Please share to warn others.