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Measles infections to triple over small rate drop

Sep
19

Date: September 19th, 2017

According to a study, small percent decline in the rate of measles vaccination could increase the number of children who get infected in the U.S. The study was meant to show the dangers of parents failing to immunize their kids.

Researchers note that the percentage of kids of age 2-11 years is about 93 percent. The researchers estimate that if this vaccination rate dropped by five percent, it could lead to additional measles infections each year. These case would cost government programs about two million, excluding hospital bills.

Nathan Lo of Stanford University School of Medicine in California was a co-author in the study. He said that their intention was to understand the impact of small reductions of vaccination on the overall measles case. He also said that these reductions were a result of parental decisions not to vaccinate their children.

Lo also added that they found that small drops in vaccine coverage could result in more outbreaks of measles due to the reduction of ‘herd immunity’.

What is measles?

Measles is a virus that spreads easily and can be fatal. Its first symptom is a fever then after a few days comes a cough, pink eyes, and a running nose. A rash then kicks in and covers the whole body.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infected people spread the virus a few days before and after the rash develops.

When an infected person coughs, the virus can survive for two hours in the atmosphere. One is likely to get infected if they come into contact with the virus on the eyes, nose or mouth.

According to Lo, very many people need to be vaccinated to prevent outbreaks since measles spread very fast and ‘herd immunity’ might help. He also says that as the rate of measles vaccination reduces, the nation already has ‘hotspots’ where large outbreaks are possible.

Maimuna Majumder is a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Despite not being involved in the study, she stated that when it comes to vaccination rates, it’s looked into at the micro-level since outbreaks happen in communities, sometimes even requiring the administration of CPR for adults.

Majumder even gave an example from a study done in California where county-level rates were as low as 70 percent despite the state having a90 percent coverage.

The data examined in the study was limited to children of age 2 to 11.

This means that the case of infection would be higher if adults, teens, and infants were included in the study. Babies can’t be vaccinated and would be very vulnerable if anyone close got infected.

Who cannot take measles vaccine?

Dr. George Rutherford is in charge of the division of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of California. He explained that only a few people have to skip measles vaccine for medical reasons.

This includes expectant women, people who are allergic to vaccines and patients with low immune systems.

Rutherford adds that the slight drop in the vaccination rates endangers those who can’t get the vaccine due to medical reasons.

He also says that the reduction of immunization level will result in large outbreaks of measles.

 

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