CDC blames measles infections on failure to vaccinate

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that approximately two-thirds of U.S. children that contracted measles in recent years were not vaccinated due to parents’ beliefs.

Approximately 4 million people contracted measles annually before the national measles vaccination was introduced, Reuters reports. In 2000, measles was declared eradicated within U.S. borders.

Recent research led by Dr. Amy Parker Fiebelkorn, however, concluded that infections continue to occur within U.S. borders. Fiebelkorn told Reuters one reason for this is because measles are “imported” into the U.S. from other countries where the disease still persists. She added that the other reason for infections is because parents decide not to immunize their children.

Controversy and concern has been raised over whether the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine caused autism. Extensive medical research has shown that the MMR vaccine has no relation to childhood autism.

Fiebelkorn told Reuters that CDC data from 2001 to 2008 was examined closely. During that time, there were 557 confirmed cases of measles and 38 outbreaks.

Researchers found that approximately 42 percent of the infections were contracted in different countries. Researchers also found that children 15 months old or younger were the most commonly infected among U.S. residents.

Sixty-five percent of the measles cases, or 285 measles cases, among U.S. residents occurred in unvaccinated individuals, according to Reuters. Researchers also found that 68 percent of the patients who developed measles between 2004 and 2008 lived in the U.S. and were not vaccinated due to personal beliefs.

Fiebelkorn told Reuters that measles vaccination rates in the U.S. are high, with 91 percent to 93 percent of 19 to 35 month old children having had at least one shot. She added that there were several communities and counties where vaccine exemption rates are several times higher than state averages, Reuters reports.