Measles Outbreaks

Measles rash: This young boy has a 3 day old rash caused by the measles virus.
Measles rash: This young boy has a 3 day old rash caused by the measles virus.Courtesy CDC PHIL #1152

Recently, twelve people were diagnosed with measles in San Diego, another nine in Pima County Arizona. In Salzburg, Austria 180 people have been infected during a recent outbreak. Thankfully there haven’t been any deaths from these latest outbreaks.

People in Nigeria’s northern Katsina state have not been as lucky. At the moment they are facing a measles epidemic which has killed nearly two hundred children in the past three months, and infected thousands.

What’s going on?
It seams that parents, for a variety of reasons, are fearful of giving their children vaccinations. For nearly everyone, the measles vaccination is safe and effective and if you want more information about the vaccine click here. Measles outbreaks aren’t very common in the U.S., fewer than 100 per year. But in the pre-vaccine era, 3-4 million measles cases occurred every year in the US. This resulted in approximately 450 deaths, 28,000 hospitalizations and 1,000 children with chronic disabilities from measles encephalitis each year. These two outbreaks in the US serve as a reminder that unvaccinated people remain at risk for measles and that measles spreads rapidly without proper controls.

According to the WHO, around the world measles still kills 250,000 people each year. Most of these deaths occur in undeveloped nations where people don’t have access to vaccinations and healthcare. But it appears the problem in both Austria and Nigeria are unvaccinated children. In Nigeria many parents are afraid to vaccinate as reported in the VOA:

Katsina state's director of disease control, Halliru Idris, tells VOA that the outbreak is mostly affecting young people who have not been immunized. "I can tell you that over 95 percent of all the children that have measles are those whose parents have not allowed them to receive immunization," he said.
A handful of radical Islamic clerics instigated a boycott of infant vaccinations in northern Nigeria in 2003 and 2004, alleging that immunization was a western ploy to render Muslim girls infertile. Though the dispute has been resolved, parents still tend to avoid immunization.

In Austria officials fear that school administrators at the private school where the outbreak began advised parents against vaccinating their students. An investigation is ongoing.

So what should we do?
In Iowa the public health response to one imported measles case cost approximately $150,000. Should parents who choose not to vaccinate their children be responsible for these expenses? How do we balance personal choice and the good of the community?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Ruthie Swallow's picture
Ruthie Swallow says:

I am a teacher and wish to support you. Call me childo. Anyway, I hope you will continue to research this area of your life. Thank you for taking time to read this email.

posted on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 4:39pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

thats so sad


posted on Thu, 04/10/2008 - 12:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i feel soooo badd for these babies

posted on Sat, 04/12/2008 - 5:15pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that is really sad noone especially somine that young should go through that type of stuff.
it is just sad.

posted on Tue, 04/15/2008 - 10:03am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

poor baby!

posted on Wed, 04/16/2008 - 11:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that is really sad

posted on Sat, 05/10/2008 - 3:22pm
hawa's picture
hawa says:

That is so sad for those baby that have outbreaks.

posted on Thu, 04/17/2008 - 10:05am
diamond2008's picture
diamond2008 says:

i can't believe that measel is still around

posted on Fri, 04/18/2008 - 10:45am
adam's picture
adam says:

i hope the babies get better

posted on Fri, 04/25/2008 - 3:07pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

very intresing

posted on Sun, 04/27/2008 - 1:45pm
nelson.robin's picture
nelson.robin says:

thats crazy man im so glad the US dont to much take on the measles as easy as other countries do

posted on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 10:07am
Kamaki + Nutushu's picture
Kamaki + Nutushu says:

Kamaki: I feel horrible about this. I feel so sad it had to happen to this kid. A three month rash! (shiver)

Nutushu: He isn't the only one who has this disease but i still feel bad! A three month rash! C'mon!

Kamaki + Nutushu

posted on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 10:34am
your mom's picture
your mom says:

thats just plain disgusting

posted on Fri, 05/09/2008 - 12:40pm
Candy's picture
Candy says:

How do you get the measles?

posted on Sat, 05/10/2008 - 12:27pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Nelson .Robin that was very rude to say that about other countries because we don't know how bad it is in any countries
cause we r from a different country and it's not bad out here at all at least i think

posted on Sat, 05/10/2008 - 12:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Are bacteria good for you too?

posted on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 3:12pm

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