As 2018 comes to an end, a deadly infectious disease seems to be unstoppable. The measles virus has returned from extinction to become a global threat.
On October 17, 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 52,958 cases of measles in the European region during 2018.
This is unfortunate news compared to 2017, when the WHO only confirmed 23,757 cases of measles.
In addition, Italy declared a "measles emergency" in November 2018.
The outbreak of measles in Europe is bad news for the USA. UU For two reasons: international travel and religious exemptions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most cases of measles reported in the United States are badociated with an international traveler.
And, these travelers carrying measles are transmitting this virus to unvaccinated people, such as recent outbreaks in New York and New Jersey.
This ongoing outbreak has impacted the Jewish communities, which has a large number of members exempt from religion.
These are just 2 of the factors that have produced new records for measles cases in the United States.
As of November 3, 2018, the CDC had reached 220 cases of measles, which exceeds the 120 cases reported during 2017.
What can be done to reverse this negative trend in 2019?
According to an article published in The lancet by Heidi Larson MA Ph.D., there is a 5 point plan to address the measles outbreak.
- First, financial resources are needed for immunization programs to undertake local research to better understand the specific problems and identify key influencers and emerging problems before they become crises.
- Second, investment is needed to pilot and implement strategies to discover what works best
- Third, embrace social media channels in the anti-vaxx discussion.
- Fourth, integrating the person-to-person dialogue where someone is available to answer questions in the clinic's waiting rooms or in community settings can help alleviate anxiety and allow undecided parents to feel their concerns are being heard.
- Finally, greater support for anticipating questions and preparing responses in advance can help health workers and officials facing difficult questions
Although there are some positive initiatives to address vaccine vacillation, the spread of misinformation is moving quickly and boldly, appealing to emotions and increasing anxieties.
Building confidence in the vaccine goes beyond changing the mind of an individual.
We need voices and positive interventions connected globally and locally that are attentive, that listen and that have the resources and the capacity to respond.
If you want to achieve the goal of eliminating measles in the US. UU., It is necessary to increase MMR vaccines for children and adults, says the CDC.
International travelers can easily request a vaccination appointment with a pharmacy in Vax-Before-Travel.
The CDC Vaccine Price List provides prices for private sector vaccines for general information.
And, discounts on measles vaccines can be found here.
Vaccines, like any medication, can have side effects. We recommend that you report the negative side effects of the vaccines to the FDA or CDC.
Dr. Heidi Larson is the Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project and the research group is funded by the EU's Innovative Medicine Initiative, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the National Institute of Health Research , GlaxoSmithKline, the European Commission and the King Baudouin Foundation.