February 28, 2024

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention is urging well being care suppliers to be “on alert” for sufferers with signs of measles — a virus declared eradicated within the U.S. in 2000 — after almost two dozen circumstances have been reported throughout the nation previously month.

Between Dec. 1 and Jan. 23, the CDC has been notified of 23 measles circumstances, together with seven “direct importations” by worldwide vacationers and two outbreaks with greater than 5 circumstances every, in response to a letter the federal company despatched to clinicians final week.

A lot of the circumstances had been amongst youngsters and youngsters who had not been vaccinated towards the virus, and 9 of them had been reported by the well being division in Philadelphia — a metropolis that may be a two-hour drive from Baltimore. Moreover, the Virginia Division of Well being notified folks earlier this month that they might have been uncovered to measles in the event that they had been at Dulles Worldwide Airport on Jan. 3 or at Ronald Reagan Washington Nationwide Airport on Jan. 4.

The outbreak could also be scary, mentioned Dr. Theresa Nguyen — chair of pediatrics on the Larger Baltimore Medical Middle in Towson — but it surely’s vital for folks to not panic.

As a substitute, she mentioned, “the message is, ‘Get your youngsters vaccinated.’”

The measles vaccine used right this moment, MMR — which additionally protects folks towards mumps and rubella — was authorized by the Meals and Drug Administration greater than 50 years in the past. However the nationwide MMR vaccination price has fallen by two proportion factors over the previous two college years, after sitting firmly at 95% for 10 years. In Maryland, the kid vaccine exemption price elevated by 0.4 proportion factors from the 2021-22 college yr to the 2022-23 college yr.

Measles, a really contagious viral sickness characterised by a excessive fever, rash, cough, runny nostril and pinkeye, hasn’t been endemic within the U.S. in additional than 20 years. However in 1998, the progress made in convincing mother and father to vaccinate their youngsters was jeopardized by the publication of a flimsy examine that advised getting the MMR vaccine could predispose a baby to growing autism.

The journal that printed the examine has since retracted it, and Andrew Wakefield — the paper’s lead writer — is now barred from training as a doctor in the UK. However the vaccine hesitancy seeded by his analysis persists right this moment, Nguyen mentioned. And for the reason that coronavirus pandemic, vaccine hesitancy has solely grown, she added.