Despite an effective vaccine, there has been a spike of measles cases infecting a small pocket of people in the United States. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 430 children die of measles everyday worldwide – that’s 18 an hour. Now health officials are warning that international importation is continuing to threaten our health at home.
People infected abroad are sparking outbreaks among unvaccinated people, including infants and young children. Measles is a serious illness. It’s a highly contagious viral disease that causes fever and a red rash. Twenty percent of children who get infected are hospitalized.
CDC says that typically there are about 60 cases a year, but 2013 saw a spike in American communities. So far there have been 175 cases reported, which have been linked to people who brought the infection home after traveling abroad.
“A measles outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., in a press release. “The steady arrival of measles in the United States is a constant reminder that deadly diseases are testing our health security every day. Someday, it won’t be only measles at the international arrival gate; so, detecting diseases before they arrive is a wise investment in U.S. health security.”
CDC encourages all children to receive the measles vaccination, which was made 50 years ago by Samuel L. Katz, M.D., emeritus professor of medicine at Duke University. Since 2001, a global partnership vaccinated 1.1 billion children around the world – preventing 10 million deaths.