Measles Outbreak Spreads Through US


Nayla Delgado, Staff Writer

Though many have believed the Measles disease to be eradicated in the United States, the recent resurgence of outbreaks has been a cause for concern nationwide. There are over a hundred cases of the measles across ten states as currently reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Washing State, which has over fifty cases, has declared a public emergency in order to prevent a larger outbreak.

Measles is a viral infection that is especially dangerous to young children and adults over twenty. The infection is highly contagious, as 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to an infected person will get the virus. The disease spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it may remain in the air for up to two hours. Symptoms do not appear until at least 10 days after exposure and can include cough, fever, and a red blotchy rash on the skin. There is no current cure or specific treatment for the disease other than prevention through vaccination.

The measles vaccination is highly effective with one dose being 93 percent effective at prevention and two doses being 97 percent effective according to the CDC. As a majority of those currently infected are children, this has opened a debate about the perils of the anti-vaccination movement and whether governments have a role in preventing such outbreaks. While in Washington, the government is attempting to establish legislation that makes it more difficult to bypass the vaccines for philosophical reasons, many argue that it is not the government’s place to impose such legislation and that people have a right to choose whether or not to vaccinate themselves or their children.

The anti-vaccination movement has had a long history, dating back to as early as the 1850s in response to the Vaccination Act of 1853. Many have stood to oppose the medical practice, the main argument being that it causes autism; although no research has confirmed this. In the year 2000, measles had seemed to be eradicated in the US, however, in later years we would experience outbreaks again, paralleling the resurgence of the anti-vaccination movement.

As debates continue over vaccination research as well as the government’s role in preventing diseases, cases for measles grow in infected communities. On the other hand, the outbreaks have led to a spike in people getting vaccinated in the past few months. Many are already taking precautions and even defying anti-vaxxer parents in order to prevent acquiring the growing disease.