Last year, 2014, saw the largest count of measles cases in the past decade with over 600 cases, but 2015 has the potential to be just as severe. So far there have been 169 cases, largely related to a multi-state outbreak that originated in Disneyland.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
reported that about 117 cases, 70 percent are linked to the Disneyland outbreak. Following is the top five facts surrounding this large outbreak.
1. An overseas traveler most likely brought the outbreak to Disneyland.
While the CDC has not yet identified a source, the organization speculates this was the cause of the outbreak. Scientists found this measles virus related to the outbreak in the Philippines in 2014, according to the CDC.
2. Recent hesitancy to vaccinate led to a larger spread of the virus.
Infectious disease authorities found that among those exposed to the virus during the outbreak, anywhere between 50 to 86 percent were vaccinated. The LA Times reported
that “herd immunity” requires 96 to 99 percent vaccination rates.
Many parents have declined immunization for their children over recent years due to philosophical or religious reasons. However, in addition to this, the measles vaccine cannot be given until a child is at least one year old.
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The multi-state and international outbreak did not result in any reported deaths so far. But the authorities do express concern over the anti-vaccination movement.
3. The measles were declared eliminated from the United States in 2000.
Measles, the leading cause of death in children worldwide, is not a major fear in the United States since the disease is no longer common, the LA Times reported. Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC told NPR t
hat this “is a wake-up call to make sure measles doesn’t get a foothold back in our country.”
4. The outbreak was declared over April 17, 2015.
For the outbreak to be declared over, no new infections could be reported for 42 days, which is two incubation periods, according to the Huffington Post.
It remained to be a concern in Quebec when a Disneyland visitor is thought to have spread it to a small religious community against vaccination.
5. A new bill is working its way through the California legislature
that would require vaccines to be mandatory for schoolchildren despite parental philosophies.
The California State Senate recently passed the bill through and it now faces a vote in the State Assembly. It has raised a lot of controversy among parents, lawmakers, and health professionals in the state, according to ABC San Francisco.
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