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Breakout of Measles in the US

Measles

On April 25, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control or CDC issued a statement confirming 695 cases of measles in the US this year. This may not sound like many in a country with a population in excess of 325 million people. However, it has the CDC concerned.

Back in 2000, the measles was eradicated in the United States. According to the CDC, this was largely because of the high percentage of people who had been immunized against the disease. The problem is that having a high percentage of people inoculated isn’t the same thing as saying that the entire population has been.

There are still people in the US who have never had the measles and who haven’t had measles shots. 

Measles is highly contagious. If an unimmunized person travels overseas and comes into contact with someone with measles, then returns to an area where many people haven’t been inoculated, the measles can be spread rapidly. At that point, it is difficult to contain the outbreak. 

This appears to be what has happened in this case. In some places, the CDC is especially worried that the contagion will rapidly advance. Currently, there are measles quarantines at UCLA and Cal State in California, however, 22 states have reported cases of measles since the beginning of the year, so it isn’t happening in just California.

Measles is especially dangerous to infants and pregnant mothers.

  • Have you ever had measles?

    • Yes
    • No
    • I don’t know
  • Have you been immunized against measles?

    • Yes
    • No
    • I’m not sure

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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10 Comments

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  1. I was vaccinated against measles, I doubt I had it.
    I caught chicken pox though.
    These infections aren’t deadly or dangerous, except for the categories at risk. I can imagine why some people would prefer to vaccinate, and why others would not.

        • That is correct, most of the time. I should write about the difference between vaccination and immunization. Measles vaccine comes from an attenuated measles virus, meaning that it is merely a milder form of measles. This allows a person’s body to produce antibodies against measles. A single measles shot doesn’t make most people immune to the virus. However, some people do develop immunity, particularly after having a series of measles shots.

          What it boils down to is that for most people, a single measles shot is a vaccination. For only a small number is it an immunization.

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