The Centers For Disease Control reports 695 cases of measles, the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since the disease was eliminated in 2000. Health departments in Johnson County, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri each report no confirmed cases of the measles so far in 2019, after investigating reports of suspected cases earlier this year. The number of nationwide cases is mostly from a few large outbreaks…one in Washington state and two large outbreaks in New York. The outbreaks started through importation. Measles is imported when an unvaccinated traveler visits a country where there is widespread measles transmission, gets infected with measles, and returns to the United States and exposes people in a community who are not vaccinated.
Public health officials blame the outbreaks on more and more families choosing not to have their children vaccinated because of a spread of misinformation online and on social media about the risks and effectiveness of vaccines. The CDC considers the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, to be safe and effective.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson is an infectious disease specialist at The University of Kansas Health System. In the video, he talks about the dangers of the measles…which in some cases can include pneumonia, spinal cord infection and even death. He describes the symptoms of the disease, and how the number of cases has risen tenfold in the past decade. He says the vaccine has been proven safe and effective after decades of use.