Data suggest low vaccination rates, measles outbreak related
The researchers said the general population has received far fewer vaccines than what is needed to stop a measles outbreak.
Analysts reported that the data from the study indicate that the vaccination rate among certain groups of cases (located in Arizona, California and Illinois) is between 60 percent and 86 percent. The percentage required to stop a measles outbreak is 96 percent to 99 percent.
Measles is unusually contagious. Epidemiologists have said one infected individual can spread the illness to 11 to 18 other individuals.
Health professionals said vaccinations are the best way to stop the current measles outbreak and any future outbreaks of the illness.
"Our data tell us a very straightforward story -- that the way to stop this and future measles outbreaks is through vaccination," John Brownstein, a digital epidemiologist and co-founder of HealthMap and VaccineFinder, said. VaccineFinder is an online service that enables people to find out where they can get vaccinations locally. "The fundamental reason why we're seeing the number of cases we are is inadequate vaccine coverage among the exposed. We hope these data encourage families to ensure they and their loved ones are vaccinated, and help local public health officials in their efforts to control this outbreak."