SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Health professionals heighten awareness against measles

Health professionals heighten awareness against measles

In an editorial from the New England Journal of Medicine, experts from Emory Vaccine Center urged health professionals to focus more on measles outbreaks.

Measles is highly contagious but preventable with vaccines. Just one person with measles can be responsible for infecting 12-18 susceptible people with the virus.

"Because of its high level of contagiousness, measles is the indicator disease for weaknesses of an immunization program," Walt Orenstein, MD, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center and professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, and Katherine Seib, MSPH, research manager at Emory’s Division of Infectious Diseases, wrote.

According to Orenstein and Seib, this year there have been more recorded measles cases than there were in the past twenty years.

Even though experts declared that indigenous circulation of measles ended in the U.S. in 2000, measles outbreaks have shown flaws in the U.S.'s vaccination policies over the past ten years.

One flaw is international travel laws that permit potential measles carriers to enter the U.S. from measles-susceptible countries. Another weakness is parents’ continued doubt concerning the effectiveness of childhood vaccinations.

As always, the best way to avoid contracting any sickness is to practice adequate personal and interpersonal hygiene.

Experts recommended heightened vigilance concerning the measles virus.

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