Measles cases at 'alarmingly' high levels around the world, UNICEF says

Faith Castro
March 2, 2019

The strong language comes as part of a new report by the World Health Organization, which says the resurgence in preventable measles cases is one of 10 major issues it will tackle this year, putting it on par with climate change, cancer, Ebola and HIV.

The city's Health Department on Thursday pleaded with parents to vaccinate their children against measles, as an outbreak in Brooklyn has grown exponentially since October.

"Measles may be the disease, but, all too often, the real infection is misinformation, mistrust and complacency", Fore said.

The disease's resurgence is giving a platform to anti-vaccination advocates and a discredited doctor's now-debunked study suggesting vaccinations cause autism.

"We have a safe, effective, and low-priced vaccine against a highly contagious disease - a vaccine that has saved nearly a million lives every year over the last two decades".

At one point during the hearing, anti-vaccination activists in the audience could be heard objecting to testimonies by Messonnier and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Another rubbed her fingers together, making the hand gesture for money. Two shots are required, one around the first birthday and a second between age 4 and 6.

However, it looks like the country will surpass that number this year as it has already reported 24,042 measles cases, the report said citing government data.

He added that there are two reasons why following vaccine recommendations remain important: "One, it is for the safety of your own child, and the other is a responsibility for your own community".

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Two of the nation's leading health experts, who expressed confusion at the growing numbers of people choosing not to vaccinate against measles, testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Once a person has had the measles, they are immune for life.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease transmitted by respiratory droplets and direct contact.

"You can see that if we carry on with this trend, that the incidence of measles is going to continue to grow", said Buchinsky. "You can believe that vaccines don't work or that they are unsafe or they simply fly in the face of your parenting philosophy", she says.

Measles symptoms begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that usually begins at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, after a vaccination program. It spreads through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. Elimination is defined by no continuous disease transmissions occurring for greater than 12 months.

People with weakened immune systems-due to another illness or certain medications-are also at increased risk of getting a more serious case of measles, says Dr. Murphy.

The virus is common in developing countries, particularly in areas of Africa and Asia, according to WHO.

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