Vaccination debate goes before House committee as measles cases rise

02 March, 2019, 09:27 | Author: Jerome Frank
  • Anti-vaxers blamed for astonishing rise of Measles in 2018 – UNICEF

98 countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 compared with 2017, and the UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) warns that conflict, complacency and the growing anti-vaccine movement threatens to undo decades of work to tame the disease.

"But despite that success, here we are again".

"That's why it's so important people travelling overseas make sure they are fully immunised against measles before they go", says Dr McElnay.

The two health officials clarified that in rare instances with underlying immune deficiencies, an MMR vaccine is not recommended.

Further investigations by Community and Public Health are now underway, including contact tracing in relation to this new case and prophylactic treatment and/or isolation for anyone thought to have been exposed, but not fully immune.

From Jan. 1, 2019 to February 21, 2019, there have been 159 confirmed measles cases in 10 states, Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told the committee.

But, this CDC data may not include mumps cases reported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency during 2019. Almost 83,000 people contracted measles in Europe in 2018, the highest number in a decade.

The majority of the cases has mainly affected the Orthodox Jewish community in New Square, Spring Valley, and Monsey, health officials said. This age group was prioritized because they are the most vulnerable to measles infection.

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This number may soon by trumped in 2019 as NY is now experiencing its worst outbreak in decades and Washington state is fighting one of its own with 66 confirmed cases already for this year, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

"Vaccines prevent people from coming down with illnesses that are very preventable, and they decrease the time people spend going to doctor's offices and hospitals".

"We are very concerned about the continued upward tick of measles in our area despite concentrated and valiant efforts by DOH".

According to the Department of Health (DOH), more than 70 patients, mostly children, have died from the measles virus. For example, researchers were able to determine that a measles virus that led to an outbreak among a community of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn in New York City came from Israel. "We need to get to zero".

In Romania, reported cases dropped 89 per cent from 8,673 to 943, and in Indonesia, the number declined by 65 per cent from 11,389 to 3,995. "This slide is really unacceptable; this is a totally vaccine-preventable disease". That's a lot for just two months, especially for a disease that, back in 2000, was declared eliminated from the United States.

A few hearing participants shared their own experience with the disease.

"I think it is worth my health to do it", said Cornett. But the measles virus should not be underestimated, says Diane Peterson with the pro-vaccine Immunization Action Coalition.

Even though California enacted tough legislation in 2016 barring "personal belief" exemptions for childhood vaccinations, some parents may be turning to unethical physicians to circumvent the new law.

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