4 new suspected measles cases in Washington

Megan E. Garcia

4 new suspected measles cases in Washington

The US Committee on Energy & Commerce gathered in Capitol Hill on Wednesday to discuss the "growing public health threat" of measles outbreaks in the US (video below) citing "vaccine hesitancy" and the rise of misinformation as one of the prime factors behind the ugly resurgence. New data by UNICEF revealed a 50 percent rise in the number of people who contracted the illness a year ago, with up to 98 countries reporting an increase.

Measles, a respiratory illness, is more contagious than Ebola, tuberculosis or influenza.

It urges understanding that vaccines are safe and effective, and recommends vaccinating all children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years during outbreaks; training health workers to provide quality services; and strengthening immunization programs to deliver all life-saving vaccines.

"This is a wake-up call", UNICEF's Fore said.

Measles is a highly contagious, airborne disease and can cause pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and in some cases death, according to the Health Department.

She added that a "lack of action today will have disastrous consequences for children tomorrow".

But the World Health Organization past year said cases worldwide had soared almost 50 per cent in 2018, killing around 136,000 people.

UNICEF said statistics by the World Health Organization showed there were 35,120 cases of measles in Ukraine past year - a massive rise from about 5,000 in 2017.

According to WNYC, the vast majority of Orthodox children in New York City have been vaccinated, and about 1,800 Orthodox children are out of school for not having been vaccinated. It can live in the air for up to two hours after someone infected coughs or sneezes.

Doctors say older measles vaccines weren't as effective as modern ones. If you have been exposed, you are at risk if you have not been vaccinated or have not had measles.

The charity said that while countries with poor health infrastructure and civil strife are particularly vulnerable, there has also been an increase in the developed world.

Peter Power said: "Almost all of these cases are preventable, and yet children are getting infected even in places where there is simply no excuse".

The Texas Observer notes that both measles and mumps are popping up again in Texas as well, with mumps cases reaching an all-time high in 2017 and several confirmed measles cases already in 2019.

"Measles vaccination is the safest way to prevent measles from spreading, especially during an outbreak", said Dr. Julia A. Piwoz, who heads up the pediatric infectious diseases at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital for Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey. The WHO says there's been a 30 percent increase in measles cases in recent years.

People born before 1957 who have had the lab testing that shows they are not immune and may be at high risk should have one dose of the MMR vaccine and then a second dose 28 days later.

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