Another Measles Outbreak In US: What Everyone Should Know

Just last week, we noted that a measles outbreak in the Bay Area was causing health problems and leading to numerous health warnings, especially for passengers on BART. Now, news of another outbreak has popped up, this time across the country in New York City, with four hospitalizations so far and victims as young as three months old.

Measles can cause significant health problems, up to and including death. While people who were healthy at the time of infection may be able to fight it off without long-term effects, other patients are not so lucky. They can experience scars and damage to the heart and nervous system. Measles was once a very common childhood illness, but that stopped when researchers developed an effective vaccine for it and distributed it widely, creating what’s known as herd immunity — essentially, so few people are effective hosts for a virus that it can’t spread.

Vaccines work only when they are applied consistently across the whole population, because even a well-vaccinated population has some outliers. Very young children can’t have vaccines because their immune systems aren’t strong enough yet, and vaccines are unsafe for some people with compromised immune systems, like those with autoimmune diseases and HIV.

That’s why it’s important for as many people as possible to get vaccinated in childhood, and for adults to make sure they have had the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine. With everyone staying vaccinated, rare incidents of infection have nowhere to go because the virus can’t leap to anyone else, and it fizzles out before it has a chance to harm vulnerable infants, older adults, and people who can’t get vaccines for health reasons.

Should I get revaccinated for measles?

According to Slate magazine, “if you’re old enough to read this article, you should have had two doses of MMR vaccine. Most people receive the first dose just after their first birthday. The single shot confers immunity to measles in more than 95 percent of recipients. You should have received a second dose around the age of 4. (Older readers may not have received the second shot until later in life; the recommendation for the double dose wasn’t made until the 1990s.) The two-dose regimen confers lifelong immunity to the overwhelming majority of people.”

Measles was supposedly eliminated from the United States in 2000, but it’s coming back with a vengeance, bringing its highly contagious (and unpleasant) rash into fashionable and poor neighborhoods alike, lurking under New York roofs and on Miami beaches. This resurgence has been attributed to the anti-vaccination movement in the United States, which has created large holes and gaps in a formerly tight net of herd immunity.

It’s critically important to keep up with all your vaccinations as both a child and adult. Your doctor can provide advice on which vaccines and boosters are needed and when, as can the Department of Public Health in your area. Call for advice, and if you are concerned about the cost, you may qualify for free vaccinations. Many clinics offer traveling vaccination stations for people who can’t afford to take time off from work, and drugstores frequently provide a quick vaccination option as well to offer yet another option.

Vaccination protects you from potentially fatal diseases, as well as the people around you. Get a vaccine so you can cuddle your friends’ babies without having to worry, and visit friends in ICU or other areas of the hospital without unknowingly bringing a potentially fatal infection with you. The risks associated with vaccination are extremely low, and if you don’t get vaccinated, they’re much, much higher.

Katie Marks writes for This article originally appeared here.

Photo: Pete Lewis/Department for International Development, Flickr.


Darlene Buckingham

Measles happen whether people are vaccinated or not. Measles vaccines have made people ill. What is it I do not understand? ARe you a virologist/ immunologist? Eradicated infectious illnesses are occurring again in war zones.

Darlene Buckingham

Barb: Recognize this post below from another article on vaccines. It is time for people like you to move on that continue to ridicule and denigrate people that have legitimate questions when it comes to the way vaccines are sold to the public. We are not accepting PR and advertising as the truth. Tell your bosses that. PR and advertising is not truth. There is not support for the herd immunity theory. There is not full disclosure in the vaccine industry and we are demanding it now. People like you that are hired to ridicule people is not going to work. Let us get back self respect and continue this debate with dignity and integrity. The truth always outs.
Your comments Barb to another CAre 2 reader about vaccines:
A) Ignorant B) Supremely arrogant C) Highly amusing.

Jane, the thread died LONG ago, nobody else has been by for weeks. I'm sorry you've been offended ~ it might be best for you to move on.

Read more:
And MAry I am still waiting for an answer.

Darlene Buckingham

Chicken pox is also cited as showing herd immunity as it is claimed that chicken pox has dropped 90% since the introduction of the vaccine in 1995. Interesting though -In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not require state health departments to report infections of chicken pox, and only 31 states currently volunteer this information.[69] However, in a 2013 study conducted by the social media disease surveillance tool called Sickweather, anecdotal reports of chickenpox infections on Facebook and Twitter were used to measure and rank states with the most infections per capita, with Maryland, Tennessee and Illinois in the top 3.[7 Where did the data come from - if reports of chickenpox are not required in all states? How could the statement that chickenpox has dropped by 90% be accurate without complete data?

Darlene Buckingham

Do not mistake probability for truth, for it is a notorious liar. ~Robert Brault,
Barb: The article you provided is dated. How is 139 cases of measles in the entire United Staes from January 2013 to August 24th, 2013 the WORST outbreak ever. Again over-exaggeration, fear mongering and catastrophizing. All the other links provided are opinion pieces. There is no hard scientific data provided or scientific case studies. Where are the scientific studies that prove herd immunity and the scientific studies that vaccines are the only reason for infectious diseases to have dropped? The graph does not demonstrate that measles cases dropped off due to vaccines - other factors could have been responsible for this drop. The graph means nothing without scientific studies and variables to back it up. There is no scientific studies to back-up that the WORST measles cases in 2013 was due to people not vaccinating as well. The top 20 questions does not list any sources of information and the articles are by a private organization of the Doctors of Philadelphia. Chicken pox is also cited as showing herd immunity as it is claimed that chicken pox has dropped 90% since the introduction of the vaccine in 1995. Interesting though -In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not require state health departments to report infections of chicken pox, and only 31 states currently volunteer this information.[69] However, in a 2013 study conducted by the social medi

Darlene Buckingham

1: A strong immune system is the best defense against infectious diseases.
To acquire a strong immune system nutritious food,plenty of clean water, fresh air rest and relaxation are important
Essential oils and herbs can help boost the immune system
As herd immunity is a theory that has not been proven in any studies, calling people dangerous that choose not to vaccinate, especially flu vaccinations, is a very serious accusation without any substantive evidence to prove that herd immunity is true.
As vaccines are not 100% effective choice of whether to vaccinate or not must be honoured as a reasonable choice that is not causing harm to others.
As vaccines are not 100% teaching people how to take care of themselves and strengthening themselves must be available to the public instead of advertising and PR about vaccines.
It is important to stop telling people that advertising and PR for vaccines is the same as facts and that full disclosure of side-effects and alternatives must be offered instead of the one-sided arguments given that support vaccinations and no other alternatives.
One thing I have learned about life is that the truth will always make itself shown. It is impossible to come up good solutions to problems if the truth is not valued. The cracks are showing in vaccines because advertising and PR is taken for truth. People are asking questions and this is not going to go away. The vaccine industry is going to have to pay attention.

Darlene Buckingham

I really became concerned with the push to vaccinate with the H1N1Pandemic. In the end 17,00 died and this is tragic but it is far from a pandemic. When I wrote the government of why so many vaccinations were purchased and millions of dollars spent on advertising - I received brochures in the mail, there were ads on the radio every day and there was full page ads in the community newspapers - the answer was that H1N1 was a novel virus meaning that nobody on the planet had immunity to this virus The potential for this virus to afflict billions of people was because it had never been seen before. My question now is why was this virus not more virulent? This questions the theory of herd immunity and seems that other factors other than vaccination stopped the spread of this virus. Why is this not discussed more openly? We need to do more research and until the time when vaccines are 100% and herd immunity is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, denigration and ridicule of people that choose to opt out of vaccines has to be honoured. We are not solving anything by this continued battle that is not solving anything.

Darlene Buckingham

Mary: You still have not provided the background information for percentage of people ill 2% percentage of unvaccinated ill 100%. This is meaningless without context. Now that I looked more carefully at the Bay outbreak - how is 4 sick and 15 cases an outbreak? The vaccine industry exaggerates dangers to get people to vaccinate. We have to take a look at what is really happening with vaccines to get at the truth. Care 2 this article is more a PR and advertising piece for vaccines. PR and advertising is not the full story. People deserve to get all the facts. The situation with fear-mongering and moving towards mandatory vaccination based on the theory of herd immunity when there is not conclusive evidence has to be stopped as it is not solving anything. Vaccinations range in efficacy and are medical procedures that require full disclosure and choice. Please Care 2 start printing articles that are not so one sided. This is not serving the public or helping us to come up with solutions. We all want to be healthy and we have to get to the bottom of this vaccine controversy.

Darlene Buckingham

I find it interesting that both Mary and Barb are no longer commenting. Mary : You have ridiculed and denigrated my comments on vaccine choice calling me arrogant, ignorant, selfish and dangerous. I asked a respectful question of why was your daughter not vaccinated for whopping cough? The answer because there was no outbreak in BC does not make sense. Vaccines are preventative and pertussis is a vaccine that is recommended every 10 years. How is this question offending you. I did not denigrate, call you names I simply don't understand the logic here. You have been defending vaccines yet are not following vaccine protocols? I see a problem here with yet more misinformation on vaccines. I personally am not taking adult pertussis vaccinations - that is my choice. I don't understand that you call people dangerous fools for not taking vaccines and yet do not take the recommended vaccines yourself. The vaccine industry recommend to mothers to not allow unvaccinated people around their babies so how was it that you and your daughter were not vaccinated as adults for whooping cough? I again find it disconcerting that the vaccine industry recommends to Mothers to not allow unvaccinated people near their babies.

Darlene Buckingham

"I had all my vaccinations (plus extra because I lived in Australia for a time) and I still got a medically documented case of the measles. In fact, there was an outbreak on my college campus of mostly vaccinated young adults. So "nearly 100 percent" immunity probably means something like 60. JUST BE HONEST, PEOPLE... was this person who "recently travelled" immunized? I am betting YES and you just don't want to tell the whole truth."
HEre is a comment on the Bay area outbreak news story.

Darlene Buckingham
I decided to more research about the outbreak mentioned in the article we are commenting on. The headlines was that a student contracted measles and exposed millions of people to the measles and this is very serious as people are now choosing not to vaccinate. So how many people caught the measles. The next article is that 4 people caught the measles and that there had been 15 cases in the past months. Tell me this is not fear-mongering. A warning that millions of people had been exposed to the measles and 15 got sick. And you wonder why people are asking questions.