NIH calls for renewed focus on measles vaccinations following outbreaks

Posted April 25, 2019

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 555 individual cases of measles confirmed in 20 states since January 1. As of April 18, there have been 359 confirmed cases of measles in those areas since October, New York public health officials said, adding that most of the cases centered among members of the Orthodox Jewish community. In 2014, the nation experienced its current record number of measles cases post-2000 eradication with a total of 667 confirmed reports. CDC has reported that outbreaks of mumps have also been reported in the United States this year.

2019 is proving to be an especially active year for the measles virus.

Public health physician Dr Andrew Langley said the person acquired the measles infection in South East Asia where it was most common.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Global Health Protection defines a measles outbreak as three or more cases.

"It's like a stopwatch starts from the minute you pick up the phone", says Kelly Moore, who oversaw the response to every measles case in Tennessee between 2004 and 2018. According to a report by the World Health Organization, there are 110,000 cases worldwide so far - a 300 percent increase over the same period previous year.

California has 23 cases, including four in San Mateo County, which include an adult who visited Google headquarters in Mountainview, and 13 cases in Butte County in northern California, the region devastated by the most destructive wildfire in history.

Measles is a highly contagious disease spread by coughing and sneezing, according to the CDC. One of the people infected in L.A.'s measles outbreak is a UCLA student, university officials confirmed Tuesday. The vaccine was licensed and then used as part of a vaccination program.

The Health Department took the unusual step earlier this month of issuing an emergency order requiring unvaccinated people in affected neighborhoods to get the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine unless they could otherwise show they had immunity. "We're monitoring very closely, trying to insure that we minimize and prevent any additional cases", she says.

Measles infects the nose and throat mucus of infected individuals, producing symptoms such as fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and a sore throat.

With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions, according to the CDC. According to the World Health Organization, Ukraine has reported 72,000 cases of measles in the past 12 months, the highest of any country.

In 1989, the CDC began recommending two doses of the MMR shot, making the vaccine more effective.

Marks said in the statement: We can not state strongly enough: The overwhelming scientific evidence shows that vaccines are among the most effective and safest interventions to both prevent individual illness and protect public health. So experts drop whatever they're working on to interview the patient and figure out everywhere they've been and everyone they've seen.