9 Million US Kids at Risk for Measles

child-vaccination-141117A new study has shown that around 9 million children in the U.S. are prone to measles, either because they have not been vaccinated or up-to-date with their vaccination. Researches estimated that around 92 to 94 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to prevent a pandemic transmission of the disease.

The safety of the vaccine or giving too many vaccines at once are a concern for many parents and thus, they may avoid or delay vaccinating their children. However, researcher Robert Bednarczyk, an assistant professor of global health at Emory University in Atlanta assured the safety of the vaccine. He also warned the risk of not vaccinating as it leaves children and other people vulnerable to a grave diseases that may result in many problems.

Recently in the U.S., Children need to receive one shot of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at ages 12 to 15 months, and a second shot when they were between the ages of 4 and 6, in order to be considered protected against measles.

Despite these measures, vaccination is impossible for some children with health conditions – their immune system might prevent them from responding properly to the vaccine and it could lead to serious complications.

Reference: Rettner, R (2015). 9 million US kids at risk for Measles, livescience, 8th October, retrieved 31 October 2015 from <http://www.livescience.com/52429-measles-vaccine-kids.html>

Congo Measles Outbreak 2015: At least 428 People Killed, 30,000 Infected In Mining Region, UN Says

mining-katanga-province-drcSince the beginning of this year, at least 428 people have died and 30,000 others infected in Southeast Democractic Republic of the Congo due to a measles outbreak. The disease is causing extensive damage to the former Katanga province. Furthermore, it’s recent division into four provinces, poses a geographical challenge for vaccination campaigns.

According to medical charity MSF, it only costs about $1 to vaccinate a child against measles. However, the location of the existing outbreak, the tropical climate and the lack of accessibility to adequate resources are hampering vaccination and making the implementation of vaccination campaigns and relief efforts in the affected areas much more challenging. Aurore Tacnet, MSF vaccination referent in Paris said that even though the vaccine against measles is very effective, it is not well suited to that environment as it requires a thorough cold chain that is difficult to maintain in such conditions. Such constraints result in a significant cost as it would be a huge demand in terms of equipment.

Measles is highly contagious and can cause many health complications such as pneumonia. It is one of the major causes of death among young children and mortality rates can be as high as 20 percent in impoverished nations.

Reference: Winsor, M (2015). Congo Measles Outbreak 2015: At least 428 people killed, 30,000 infected in mining region, UN says. ibtimes, 16th October, retrieved 29 October 2015, from <http://www.ibtimes.com/congo-measles-outbreak-2015-least-428-people-killed-30000-infected-mining-region-un-2144363>

Measles still a travel risk: study

measlesinternationaltravel_456pxAccording to travel health experts, travellers remain at risk of contracting measles regardless of the destination. 94 cases of measles from 57 travel and topical medicine clinics on six continents have been reported between 2000 and 2014.

Mark Sotir of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta said that people should definitely be concerned about measles, specifically getting vaccinated against.

CDC recommended that all children by the age of six should have had two doses of measles vaccine, which will be 97-per-cent effective at preventing infection. Evidence of these vaccines should be present for children and adults travelling internationally. Six to eleven month old Infants can receive a dose of the vaccine in case of international travel, and will have a regular vaccine schedule of two more doses after the age of one.

Co-author Dr. Douglas H. Esposito said that measles is a very contagious virus and to be fully vaccinated is the best measure to be protected against it that declining vaccination rates are a “broad public health issue”. He recommends up to date routine vaccinations as well as destination-specific vaccinations such as those for tropical climates.

 Reference:

Doyle, K (2015). Measles still a travel risk: study. theglobeandmail, 13th October, retrieved 29 October 2015, from <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/measles-still-a-travel-risk-study/article26786792/>

What are Measles?

Measles is a highly transmissible, severe human disease caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family.

It is an airbourne disease spread by coughing and sneezing, or contact with the saliva or nasal secretion of those infected. The virus will infect the mucous membrane before spreading to the rest of the body.

Risk factors include immunodeficiency, especially in those with HIV or AIDS. Those who are unvaccinated are also at a risk of contracting measles, especially children and pregnant women.

Signs of measles typically include moderate to high fever, conjunctivitis, acute rash that consists of small red spots, some of which are slightly raised. Symptoms normally appear 10-12 days after exposure to the virus.


Complications are more common in children under 5 and adult over the age of 20. Complications range from blindness to death in some cases. For those who recover from measles, their body would have developed an immunity against it, and they will be immune to the virus for the rest of their lives.

 

 References:

Measles (2015). who.int, (n.d.) retrieved 27 October 2015, from <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/>