Health

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Thomas Kienzle/AP

Vaccine Fears Contribute to Jump in Measles Cases

August 22, 2008 10:34 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The number of measles cases so far in 2008 is more than triple those reported in 2007, federal health officials say. Many blame parental reluctance to vaccinate.

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The number of measles cases has risen to to 131 in 2008, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, far more than the 42 reported for all of 2007. No one has died from the potentially fatal, highly infectious disease, according to AP.

Approximately half the cases are children who weren’t vaccinated becase their parents “rejected the vaccine.”
 
Some parents believe the measles shot or a vaccine preservative which contained mercury causes autism, but officials say there is no good evidence of that. But parents, who have heard about autism on television or read things about it online, are curious.
 
“This year, we certainly have had parents asking more questions,” Dr. Ari Brown, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the Associate Press. Brown, a pediatrician in Texas, said she gives parents a 16-page, single-spaced document she wrote that discusses vaccinations for kids and why doctors don’t think they are a cause of autism.

The current outbreak also stems from people traveling to the U.S. from abroad. Ten countries—Switzerland, Israel, Belgium, Italy, India, Germany, China, Pakistan, Russia and the Philippines—are involved in the outbreak, which started in May.

In 1996, measles sickened 508 people, and 138 more fell ill in 1997. Before that, the last major outbreak in the U.S. occurred from 1989 to 1991, “when 55,000 people got measles and 123 died,” according to Reuters.

The CDC cites “Rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes” as symptoms of measles.

Headline Link: Number of nonvaccinated not yet known

Background: Nonvaccination linked to resurgence of childhood illnesses

Opinion & Analysis: To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate

Reference: Measles

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