VALHALLA, NY — At least 206 measles cases confirmed in the first two months of this year just in the United States alone, according to a recently released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
It’s the highest year to date number, going back more than 25 years.
Since last year, outbreaks have been reported in Washington state, Oregon, New York, California, Texas and Illinois.
According to the CDC, one out of every four children who gets measles will be hospitalized and two out of every 1,000 will die.
Dr. Amler, former chief medical officer with the CDC told BA besides pneumonia, measles causes other diseases.
“There’s a measles brain infection called encephalitis, which can cause permanent deafness even if you survive and unfortunately can also cause death. And there are long term illnesses that are extremely severe and disabling that come after a wild infection with measles.”
In Madagascar, nearly 1,000 people, mainly children, have died since october.
In the Philippines, according to the international federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 261 people have died just this year alone, most were children under five years old.
Measles cases are also rising in countries like Germany, where vaccines are readily available because according to officials, like in the United States — some parents are refusing vaccinations for philosophical or religious reasons, or concerns over a long-debunked link to autism.
Congressional hearings were held recently in Washington D.C. to confront the growing public health threat.
“Social media is now driving a new phenomena somewhat distinct from vaccine opposition termed vaccine hesitancy, when parents get much of their information about health care issues such as vaccines from the internet or from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, reading uninformed opinions in the absence of accurate information can lead to really understandable concern and confusion in these parents.”
There have been global and local efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated not just here in the United States, Madagascar or the Philippines.
In New Zealand, thousands of vaccines are being delivered to health centers. With 20 confirmed cases, health officials there said they expect the number to rise.
According to the World Health Organization, vaccine avoidance is one of the top ten global health threats.