Unvaccinated children cited as source of U.S. measles outbreak

Recent research points to travelers returning from abroad and unvaccinated children as the source of the recent surge in measles in the United States.

The measles outbreak, considered the largest in the United States in the last 15 years, has, so far, infected 214 children, according to

The finding could serve to further highlight the dangers of parents refusing to vaccinate their children with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine because of safety fears. Experts say that these fears are misguided and potentially dangerous.

"The good news is that we are seeing introductions of measles that are being contained as small outbreaks,” Dr. Andrew Pavlo, the spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said, reports.

Pavlo said that the containment of the disease has been due to the generally high levels of vaccination in the country and the effective response of public health officials. The outcome could have been different, he believes, if the outbreak had occurred in a more vulnerable population.

"What would happen in an area with a lot of vaccine refusers? Then you might see a much larger outbreak," Pavlo said, according to

The study, released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at an IDSA annual meeting, revealed that the majority of those infected with the measles were not previously vaccinated.

"Typically we see 60 to 70 cases a year, this year we have 214 as of Oct. 14," Huong McLean, the lead researcher and a CDC epidemiologist, said, reports.