CDC Shares Concerns About a Potentially Large Outbreak of Measles

There was a time when measles seemed all but eradicated in the U.S.—so much so, that many parents decided to forego vaccinations for their children. Those parental decisions are now having serious repercussions across our nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been at least 102 measles cases reported in 14 states.

“We are currently very concerned by the growing number of people who are susceptible to measles, and the possibility that we could have a large outbreak in the country as a result,” says CDC director Tom Frieden.

The current outbreak began last December when 11 people who had recently visited Disneyland in California developed symptoms of measles. An additional 56 people were infected in January. Not all these patients were part of the anti-vaccination movement. At least six of those diagnosed had received the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine, suggesting that the vaccine either didn’t take effect or wore off over time.

Generally speaking, two doses of the vaccine provide 97% protection against infection and have been proven safe, explains Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Schuchat explains that this recent outbreak isn’t due to the ineffectiveness of the vaccine. It’s about what happens when enough people remain unvaccinated.

“Measles is a widely contagious disease, infecting about 20 million people annually throughout the globe,” adds Peter Lamelas, M.D., CEO of MD Now Urgent Care. “If an individual infected with measles sneezes or coughs in a crowded area, 90% of those who aren’t immune will be infected. That’s how quickly and easily the disease spreads.”

When enough people receive the vaccination, there’s a spillover effect that protects even those without the vaccination. But in places like California, where enough people decided to forego the vaccine, everyone becomes more susceptible.

“Now people who were unable to receive the vaccine for age or medical reasons, and those whose vaccines have lost effectiveness over time, have been made vulnerable by those who chose not to get vaccinated,” explains Lamelas. “That’s why we’re acting swiftly to ensure that the people of South Florida are protected from this potentially deadly virus.”

MD Now provides measles immunity blood testing or titers, to determine if you are currently up to date and the measles vaccine is available right now at all MD Now Urgent Care centers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. MD Now centers are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the year, including holidays.

“By making the vaccine readily accessible, we hope more people will take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of this highly infectious virus,” says Lamelas.

“This is not a problem of the measles vaccine not working,” Schuchat points out. “This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used.”

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