Rep. Diana DeGette Leads Discussion On Measles Outbreak

Science										
		
																	Texas lawmaker says vaccines should be optional because antibiotics exist					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner

To be considered fully protected, you would need to be born before 1969 or have had two courses of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. In 2000 it was declared eliminated. But cases have been rising in recent years, and 2019 is shaping up to be a bad one.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will be holding the hearing, which will include talks around response efforts to the current measles outbreak.

"What is particularly disconcerting is that is a public health problem for which science has already provided a solution", Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J.

And that could be fueling new and unsafe measles outbreaks in the state, a new study finds.

PATTI NEIGHMOND, BYLINE: All states require parents vaccinate their children against preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough if they want them to attend school and there are no medical reasons not to vaccinate.

Q: How does it spread? In fact, the virus can live and be passed to someone up to two hours after an infected person has left the room.

The Oregon Health Authority reports that an individual contagious with measles visited the Portland International Airport as well as locations in Marion County in February.

Q: How widespread is measles?

According to UNICEF Ireland, there were 86 cases here last year, up from 25 on the previous year.

"We have a safe, effective and affordable vaccine against a highly contagious disease-a vaccine that has saved nearly a million lives every year over the last two decades", UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore said of the report, which cited the Ukraine as having the highest increase in cases between 2017 and 2018 (30,338).

In 2018, 35,200 cases were reported in Ukraine, 30,000 more than in 2017. Unvaccinated Americans traveling overseas, or foreign visitors here, can easily bring in the virus.

Scott Lindquist, MD, the Washington Department of Health epidemiologist for communicable diseases, told Contagionthat the legislation would be a good start, but more action is needed to contain the issue of infectious disease outbreaks.

Most infants are vaccinated at a year old, and then again between the ages of 4 and 6. "The most important variable in this equation is the number of unimmunized children".

Every single death by measles is preventable.

In the Bay Area, most cities show low rates of children not being vaccinated, except for one section of Clearwater, where one in four children are going without vaccinations.

The Health Department found the initial case in the outbreak came from a child who caught measles while visiting Israel.

Despite the obvious benefits of vaccines, not everyone chooses to receive them. "Vaccine hesitancy is the result of a misunderstanding of the risk and seriousness of the disease regarding the safety and effectiveness of vaccines".

Q: Why isn't everyone vaccinated?

In Washington state, lawmakers are debating ending that personal or philosophical exemption, as are several other states.

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