Enhanced image of the Measles Virus
Enhanced image of the Measles Virus
… Measles Continues to be a Healthcare Concern in the United States …

MEASLES THREAT PERSISTS AS U.S. MOVES FORWARD INTO FLU SEASON

Clinicians and government health agencies are concerned…

John G. Baresky

Summer has come to a close and Fall is well underway. Always busy, healthcare professionals in the United States are preparing for Flu season with the challenge of Measles from early in 2019 still going strong:

  • From 1/1/2019 to 10/1/2019, a total of 1,249 Measles cases and 22 Measles outbreaks were reported in the United States
  • The numbers are critically important as they are the most cases reported in the United States within a single year since 1992 — and the second-highest-ranking number of reported outbreaks annually since Measles was declared “wiped out” in the United States in 2000
  • Among the 1,249 Measles cases reported in 2019, 1,163 (93%) were associated with the 22 outbreaks, 1,107 (89%) were persons who were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status — and 119 (10%) Measles patients were hospitalized
  • The emergence of a surge has serious implications as there is true potential for cases to multiply quickly; it presents a large scale health threat that had been minimalized through decades of medical research, pharmaceutical manufacturing expertise, rigorous immunization schedule planning and vaccine administration

Measles is spread from person to person and can be airborne as well. The pathogen can live within the air for up to two hours after a person infected with measles coughs or sneezes. Persons with Measles are considered contagious from four days before through four days after the rash appears.

Measles can be debilitating and fatal; especially for infants and young children. Some may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). About 1 in 5 unvaccinated people in the U.S. who get Measles are hospitalized; as many as 1 out of every 20 children with Measles gets pneumonia ( the most common cause of death from Measles in young children ) and about 1 child out of every 1,000 who get Measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.

Besides being a potential threat to adults with compromised immune systems, Measles may cause pregnant women who have not had the MMR vaccine to give birth prematurely or deliver a low-birth-weight baby.

Measles is spread from person to person and is airborne, meaning it can be spread without touching any surfaces or exposed to any particulates. Measles can remain live within the air for up to two hours after a person infected with measles coughs or sneezes. Individuals are considered contagious from four days before through four days after the rash appears.

Assertive and consistent information sharing must be maintained through broadcast and social media, clinicians, healthcare regulatory agencies, payers/health insurers and consumers to erase misinformation about vaccine safety and the pivotal importance of immunizations before the advance of outbreaks in Flu, Measles or other preventable diseases.

Content shared on social media has spread inaccurate information about Measles and other vaccines and disrupted immunization safeguards. Decades of research, innovative product development and documented healthcare success have been stunningly challenged via misinformation posted through various social media venues.

Early in 2019, the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kyle E. Yasuda, M.D., FAAP, issued letters to the chief executive officers of these leading Internet search and social media companies seeking their assistance in assuring parents using their tools or venues are provided factual, clinically correct information:

  • Alphabet / Google — NASDAQ: GOOGL ( owner of Verily, YouTube )
  • Facebook — NASDAQ: FB ( owner of Instagram and WhatsApp)
  • Pinterest — NYSE: PINS

The World Health Organization ( WHO ) has successfully engaged Facebook and its Instagram business for their cooperation and help. Facebook and Instagram will direct users searching for Measles immunization information and other types of vaccine details to the World Health Organization ( WHO ) for credible facts. The partnership has promising aspects of minimizing the impact of false information regarding vaccines within their channels.

Measles and Flu are preventable. Individuals can protect themselves, family members, coworkers and others by consulting their primary care provider about vaccines and utilize resources provided by them and other credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pediatric and Adult immunization resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Click here to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pediatric Immunization Schedule.

Click here to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Adult Immunization Schedule

Thank you for reading this story

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