A kindergarten student cries after receiving an immunization shot at the Dona Ana County
Health Services Center in Las Cruces, N.M.

Measles, Once Thought Eradicated, Is Making a Resurgence

May 02, 2008 12:01 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Measles, a potentially fatal but preventable disease, is being reported in several U.S. states as a result of international outbreaks and a changing attitude toward vaccination.

30-Second Summary

The United States has had more than 70 confirmed cases of measles this year. In 2000, public health officials said measles had been eradicated from the country.

Before vaccinations were widely available, complications from the disease killed up to 500 children a year, according to CDC officials. Measles is now “completely preventable through vaccination,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The outbreak of the highly contagious disease is caused by the presence of infected foreign visitors traveling in the United States, a lack of precautions at hospitals and other health facilities, and more parents choosing not to immunize their kids, said Anne Schuchat of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

In Pima County, Ariz., a Swiss visitor was the source of a 16-case measles outbreak. She has been treated and returned to Switzerland.

Michelle McDonald, Pima County’s chief medical officer, said those living with the very young, very old, and people with compromised immune systems, should get a measles shot.

Still, many parents debate whether to vaccinate their children and point to concerns the shots could be linked to autism, something public health officials deny.

Headline Links: Measles outbreaks

Background: More parents decline childhood vaccinations

Opinion & Analysis: To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate

Reference: Measles


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