The Worst Outbreak of Measles is Back!
Yes! You read it right, recently the US is witnessing its worst outbreak of measles since 2000 when the disease was first eradicated. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 626 measles cases in 22 states. The rise in cases of measles is a warning sign for other countries and requires immediate mitigation steps.
Born before 1989? Might require another shot –
The major victims of the outbreak are unvaccinated communities. However, those who are vaccinated also getting affected under this outbreak.
Recently, Israel public health official has witnessed a case of women (Vaccinated) suffering from measles. The woman is an attendant in flight between Israel and the US. Officials claim that there might be chances she contracted the disease in either country. The major reason behind such cases is the existing unvaccinated pockets around the world.
Earlier only one shot of MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine was given to children, unlike today’s two shots of MMR. The two shot MMR is found to be 97% effective in comparison to 93% effectiveness of one-shot MMR.
But this doesn’t mean that everyone born before 1989 needs to go and get the shots again. The Centre of Disease Control and Prevention suggests that people who have received an older version of MMR should get vaccinated again. For example, people vaccinated in 1963-1967 with killed virus vaccine should get vaccinated.
Breaking the Iceberg –
Measles is caused due to the contagious rubeola virus. The virus can stay live up to 2 hrs in air. Its symptoms include high fever, rashes on the body, brain swelling, etc. It develops within 10-12 days after contracting the infection. Measles spread via droplets from nose, mouth, and sneeze. However, it can be controlled using vaccination.
Vaccines are like teachers to your immune system. It teaches it to fight the infection without even exposing it to the disease. So that when the actual infection invades, our body can efficiently fight it. This happens because our immune system produces antibodies in response to vaccination. There are memory cells which recognise the infection and at the time of true infection attack it more furiously.
Vaccines also work at the community level giving rise to a phenomenon called “Herd Immunity”. Some people can’t be vaccinated either because of age, physical conditions, etc. These people if live among the pool of vaccinated people, they become protected. Since the chances of coming in contact with diseases get reduced.
Way Ahead –
No one can deny the importance of vaccines in eradicating the disease. Though vaccines do have some side effects, it gets outnumbered by its effectiveness. The changing climatic conditions, increasing pollution, rise in population, the rise of resistant super-bug’s marks beginning of epidemics. Thus necessary steps are needed for creating awareness about vaccination and its scope in preventing diseases.