When will we see a world without measles? It COULD have happened, if only…
Fifty years after the approval of an extremely effective vaccine against measles, one of the world’s most contagious diseases, the virus still poses a threat to domestic and global health security.
On an average day, 430 children – 18 every hour – die of measles worldwide. In 2011, there were an estimated 158,000 measles deaths.
Elimination of measles was a plan announced in 2000, but is a goal that has not been reached due to anti-vaccination sentiment and the ease of travel for those who may be infected coming in from other countries.
It is still a serious illness: 1 in 5 children with measles is hospitalized. Usually there are about 60 cases per year, but 2013 saw a spike in American communities – some 175 cases and counting – virtually all linked to people who brought the infection home after foreign travel.
“A measles outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The steady arrival of measles in the United States is a constant reminder that deadly diseases are testing our health security every day.
The reason why modern, well-educated, wealthy parents don’t vaccinate their children (or revax themselves as needed) is multifaceted. They do not see the effects of the disease these days when it is rare in the modern world (until it’s too late). And, the misinformation regarding vaccination risk has had a devastating effect on vaccination rates. The CDC announcement is correlated with this publication and emphasizes global action, not just domestic.