April 20, 2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a report saying there were 222 cases of the measles in 2011, more than triple the average of 60, and the highest number since 1996. No one in the United States died from the disease in 2011, although about 164,000 people die from it around the world each year.
In 2011, there were 17 measles outbreaks. The CDC says the great majority of the cases can be traced back to travel in countries where the vaccination rate is much lower. 72 percent of the cases occurred in people who had not received the measles vaccine, or did not remember if they had been immunized.
The measles has long been considered eliminated in the U.S. due to the Measles Mump Rubella (MMR) Vaccine. However, fears over a now debunked connection to autism caused more and more parents to opt out of the vaccine. Protection comes from the vaccine itself, but also from "herd" immunity, which depends on high rates of vaccination. To quote the report, unvaccinated individuals "continue to place themselves and others in their communities at risk for measles and its complications."
Have you or your children had measles?