February 17, 2019

USA measles outbreak grows

13 February 2019, 05:38 | Randall Craig

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An intensive vaccination programme was launched for children in the National Capital Region to prevent further proliferation of the disease which infects respiratory system of its victim and can result in severe diarrhoea, pneumonia, blindness and even death.

One more child with measles was confirmed by Clark County Public Health on Tuesday, but one was deleted from the list of cases, making the total count stay the same.

This outbreak prompted doctors to warn about the importance of vaccinations because diseases like the Measles can mean life or death for people who can't get the vaccine.

"Europe is experiencing a large number of cases; there's an outbreak in Washington; Texas has had a number of cases now; NY is having an outbreak", she said. Health officials in Texas, meanwhile, have confirmed seven cases, mostly among young children, since January 1, compared with nine confirmed cases in 2018 and just one in 2017. The Washington State Health Department says about 530 individuals were immunized in opposition to measles in January 2018.

Last month, a public health emergency was declared in Washington State where there are 55 confirmed cases of the highly contagious viral disease. Four cases in Oregon's Multnomah County and one in Seattle-King County are linked to the outbreak in Vancouver.

In Clark County, the majority of patients have been unvaccinated children under 10 years old. Community colleges have a different policy, with students participating in practicum experiences in allied health, education, early childhood education and intercollegiate sports being required to have the measles vaccine.

Since September 2018 and as of Feb 5, 53,459 have been reported, 676 of them lab-confirmed.

"The challenge we face is that most people haven't seen this, the effects of an outbreak", Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman told reporters last week, according to The Washington Post.

In the week ending Feb 3 alone, 4,079 cases were reported, and the week before, 6,971 cases were reported.

The WHO said the surge is cases is due to a loss of herd immunity due to declining immunization rates and funding is urgently needed to ensure that the vaccine campaigns reach their targets.

Once thought to be almost eradicated in the United States, measles has gained ground with the advent of the anti-vaccination movement, USA Today reported.

In response, Duterte has called on his health officials to increase efforts to immunise children, urging parents to avail of basic vaccines they could get free at public health centres. It would end the personal exemption to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Almost all the circumstances occurred in kids younger than 10 whose parents had chosen not to vaccinate them.

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