Morning Rounds: Measles outbreak and vaccine safety

06 February, 2019, 04:53 | Author: Joshua Bennett
  • Mike Hess 5 right and Ranoy Hess 8 look with fascination at a jet injector as it gets loaded

A 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 83 percent of OR adolescents had received their booster shots against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

Measles is so contagious, the virus can linger hours after an infected person has left the room.

Children should get the vaccine twice- once between 12 and 15 months old and the other from four to six years old.

The most widely known symptom is he rash which usually develops at around four days after the first symptoms. Complications are more common in young children and adults.

The outbreak has lawmakers in Washington state revisiting non-medical exemptions that allow children to attend school without vaccinations if their parents or guardians express a personal objection.

Complications can usually be avoided if a patient receives adequate supportive care, including good overall nutrition, sufficient fluids and, if needed, treatment for dehydration: replacement of fluids lost due to diarrhea and vomiting, World Health Organization reports.


A measure introduced by Republican Rep. Paul Harris of Vancouver, Washington - the epicenter of the current outbreak - would remove the personal exemption specifically for the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR. At least eight other states have reported measles cases this year: Hawaii, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Colorado, California and Georgia.

A CDC report shows around 80 patients contracted measles since the year started. "SSPE has been almost eliminated with widespread measles vaccination". Oregon Public Broadcasting recently listed Oregon as having the highest vaccine exemption rate in the United States.

But 100 years later, the disease had become rare indeed, until the distrust of vaccines led more parents to opt not to have their kids immunized. Vaccination resulted in an 80% drop in worldwide measles deaths between 2000 and 2017.

The overwhelming majority - more than 95% - of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures, such as nations experiencing or recovering from a natural disaster or conflict. "The vaccine is a series of two shots and is more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles", said Dr. McDonald.

A number of specific details about the cases in Houston have not been publicly disclosed, including how it is believed that the individuals contracted the disease and if they were previously vaccinated.

Washington and OR are among 17 states that allow some type of non-medical exemption for vaccines for "personal, moral OR other beliefs", according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. People are asked to go and vaccinate as soon as possible.

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