CDC, Measles, Vaccination, outbreak, outbreaks

CDC Issues Measles Outbreak Health Alert: Urges Vaccination For Travelers, Children

The CDC has issued an advisory that warns of an increase in both global and domestic measles cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory, warning of an increase in both global and domestic measles cases, and urging vaccination. The advisory, released March 18, emphasizes the importance of measles prevention, especially for international travelers aged 6 months and older, as well as children 12 months and older who do not plan to travel internationally, according to the CDC.

Measles poses serious health risks to unvaccinated individuals. The CDC has reported 58 confirmed cases of measles in the United States from January 1 to March 14, 2024, with most linked to international travel. The majority of affected individuals were children aged 12 months and older who had not received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

“Measles is highly contagious, with one infected person capable of spreading the virus to nine out of ten unvaccinated individuals they come in contact with,” stated a CDC spokesperson.

The surge in measles cases is not limited to the United States, with other countries, including popular travel destinations such as Austria, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom, also experiencing outbreaks. To prevent further transmission of the virus, the CDC urges all U.S. residents traveling internationally to ensure they are up to date with their MMR vaccinations.

Dr. Abigail Marks, a professor at Newcastle University Business School, underscored the importance of vaccination, saying, “The truth is that there are problems with this attractive idea that tend to be ignored by the enthusiasts.”

Measles outbreaks can lead to severe health complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death, particularly in unvaccinated individuals. The CDC emphasizes the effectiveness and safety of MMR vaccines, with two doses providing 97% protection against measles.

Despite the challenges posed by declining vaccination rates, the CDC remains committed to measles prevention efforts. Recommendations for healthcare providers include ensuring that children are current with their routine immunizations, including MMR, and offering vaccinations to all U.S. residents planning international travel.

The CDC’s Health Alert is a timely reminder of the importance of vaccination in safeguarding public health and preventing the spread of infectious diseases like measles. As global travel resumes and outbreaks persist, vaccination remains a critical tool in protecting individuals and communities from this highly contagious virus.

“We must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent measles outbreaks and ensure the health and safety of all individuals,” concluded the CDC spokesperson.

For more information on measles prevention and vaccination recommendations, individuals are encouraged to consult their healthcare providers and visit the CDC website.

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