California has to worry about measles again

The measles virus is resurgent in the US, despite the long-standing availability of a vaccine that provides almost lifelong immunity. In recent weeks there have been hundreds of people exposed to a child with the virus in a Northern California healthcare facility; our state is one of 17 jurisdictions with reporting cases of measles in 2024higher than in recent years.

Measles is a highly transmissible pathogen: on average, one infected person infects 12 to 18 unvaccinated people. The airborne virus can linger in floating aerosols long after someone leaves a room, and the common symptoms, such as rash, high fever, watery eyes, coughing and a runny nose, typically take a week or two to appear.

Infections can also lead to immune amnesiawhere your immune system becomes better at fighting measles and worse at fighting other infections that you were previously protected against. In rare cases, yes also leads to deathmore often in children than in adults, due to respiratory or neurological complications, including a type of brain swelling in young children that can occur years after the first measles infection.

Before the measles vaccine was introduced and approved in 1963, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quotes an annual average of 549,000 cases (with millions more likely unreported), 48,000 hospital admissions, almost 500 deaths and 1,000 people with chronic disabilities. In 2000, measles was declared eliminated in the US thanks to vaccination. But due to cases of people arriving here from other countries, combined with low vaccinations, we are seeing outbreaks among unvaccinated people.

Policies can make the problem worse. Last month in Florida, after an outbreak at an elementary school, the state became surgeon general left the decision to the parents whether to send their children to school, citing a high level of community immunity as a reason for not following usual protocols. That cavalier response risked a much worse outbreak. A more standard response would have called for unvaccinated students and staff to be vaccinated and quarantined for 21 days (the time frame in which the disease could develop).

It may be tempting for Californians to dismiss this as a Florida problem. But our state has a measles time bomb on its hands. Ideally, communities should at least be affected 95% vaccination to achieve herd immunity. But a recent one national survey discovered that Southern California there are 350 schools alone that do not meet the desired vaccination threshold, meaning that a single case of measles in these schools could easily become an outbreak among the unvaccinated.

Misinformation surrounding the measles vaccine has been a problem for years. a debunked but an influential 1998 research article in the Lancet, a British medical journal, suggested a link between the vaccine, which babies can receive from the age of 12 months, and autism. The article was retracted in 2010 (and it was later reported that the authors had committed suicide fraud). But the vaccination rate against measles fallen in England during the early 2000s.

In California, a 2014 outbreak at Disneyland was connected to more than 140 cases in North America, with the declining vaccination rate being one contributing factor. A recent systematic review of the reasons why parents reject measles vaccination for their children was found fear of autism the most frequently mentioned concern. Those who were hesitant were more likely to cite the Internet and social media as sources of information about vaccines than those who were not hesitant.

There has been hesitation in recent years grown as misinformation about the COVID vaccine has made some parents hesitant about routine shots. The vaccination exemptions during the 2022-2023 school year reached the top level once reported in the US, and increased in 40 states and Washington, DC, and in 10 states achieving waiver rates greater than 5%. According to the CDC, the 93.1% vaccination rate among eligible children puts about 250,000 preschoolers at risk for measles.

Encouragingly, we have seen in our own situation that vaccine hesitancy can be reversed. Marin County had among the lowest measles vaccination rate in the state in 2011 and now has coverage almost 99% among children going to school. State contact tracing efforts strengthened during COVID-19, including the California connected program, have been useful in tracking the contacts of measles cases.

But as recent fears remind us, we are still not where we need to be with vaccination. After the outbreak at Disneyland, California passed a law in 2015 to eliminate the “personal belief” exemption from mandatory childhood vaccines, which means people must provide a medical reason to refuse them. The law expanded the criteria for medical exemptions, which increased the following year. Although the state has tightened medical exemptions by a new law In 2019, as the pandemic disrupted routine vaccinations and homeschooling increased, the percentage of preschoolers who were not up to date on 2021 vaccinations increased.

Vaccine exemption laws vary widely across the USwith some states only allowing medical exemptions, some allowing religious exemptions and others allowing them as well philosophical exceptions at. And outbreaks from one state can quickly spread across borders.

That means decisions by Florida's Public Health Department and vaccine hesitancy anywhere could affect us all. California must close the gap for communities that are not well protected against measles.

Abraar Karan is a physician and infectious disease researcher at Stanford University, where Julie Parsonnet is professor of infectious diseases and epidemiology and public health.

Related Posts

  • Science
  • May 28, 2024
  • 7 views
  • 7 minutes Read
Climate change threatens the beloved Spix's macaw from Rio's animated films

Candice and Cromwell Purchase have dedicated their adult lives to saving the Spix's Macaw, a critically endangered species. Efforts to reintroduce Spix's macaws to the wild have faced challenges, including…

  • Science
  • May 26, 2024
  • 6 views
  • 11 minutes Read
A scientist aims to save habitats that rely on groundwater

WELDON, Calif. —  California is recognized as one of the world’s hotspots of biodiversity, with more species of plants and animals than any other state. And a significant number of the…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

Freddie Mac suggests buying mortgage loans

  • May 28, 2024
Freddie Mac suggests buying mortgage loans

DNC plans to nominate Biden and Harris virtually before the convention

  • May 28, 2024
DNC plans to nominate Biden and Harris virtually before the convention

How a school district is using AI to solve its bus driver shortage

  • May 28, 2024
How a school district is using AI to solve its bus driver shortage

Secret list of reasons why the president could lose revealed

  • May 28, 2024
Secret list of reasons why the president could lose revealed

Gael Monfils interview: Roland Garros, showmanship, Svitolina and Skai

  • May 28, 2024
Gael Monfils interview: Roland Garros, showmanship, Svitolina and Skai

Why I Love My CSA (It's More Than the Weekly Box of Fresh Produce)

  • May 28, 2024
Why I Love My CSA (It's More Than the Weekly Box of Fresh Produce)

DNC will nominate Biden and Harris through virtual proceedings ahead of the convention

  • May 28, 2024
DNC will nominate Biden and Harris through virtual proceedings ahead of the convention

Feeding peanuts to young children may reduce allergy risk: study

  • May 28, 2024
Feeding peanuts to young children may reduce allergy risk: study

Robert De Niro criticizes Trump outside the criminal trial

  • May 28, 2024
Robert De Niro criticizes Trump outside the criminal trial

A newly authenticated Caravaggio painting goes on display in Spain: NPR

  • May 28, 2024
A newly authenticated Caravaggio painting goes on display in Spain: NPR

Best non-gamstop casinos in 2024

  • May 28, 2024
Best non-gamstop casinos in 2024