United States health experts warned on Wednesday return of measles in recent years in the country, especially no communities that refuse vaccination and get exemptions for religious or personal reasons.
Since January 1 they have declared six outbreaks of measles in the states of Washington, Colorado and New York, leaving 159 affected for the disease. The disease was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000, which means that it did not spread in the country. However, The cases have increased in recent years and 2019 is especially bad.
This return is "unacceptable", said the director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, during an intervention before the United States Congress. The outbreaks "are tragic because they are totally preventable," added the representative Brett Guthrie, R-Kentucky.
O The measles virus is one of the most contagious. You can stay in one place until two hours after the exit of the infected person.
Most American measles epidemics begin when the virus reaches the body of a person who returns from a trip abroad, since the disease is still very active in many countries. Then It is spread among people who did not receive a vaccine, which they usually live close to.
Yes, they explain the experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which mention decades of use by millions of children every year and who say that their own children have been vaccinated.
In the late 1990s, One study linked the triple vaccine to autism, but this study was found to be a fraud, and Fauci said that subsequent investigations did not find any risk of autism from the vaccine.
Even so, misinformation about the vaccine is extensive. Fauci said that the solution is not to criticize people who have no way of knowing what is false. Instead, "We need to educate them to show you what is the evidence "and avoid the spread of false news.
"There are groups of people who have doubts about vaccines," said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC.
In the last five years, 12 of the 26 epidemics (more than five patients) have been declared in groups with "close ties", such as the Somali community of Minnesota in 2017 or the orthodox Jewish community in the Brooklyn neighborhood of New York. Last year
Misinformation about vaccines is one of the factors explaining this data, according to experts, accused social networks of spreading false information about the risks of vaccines.
A vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella is "incredibly safe," Nancy Messonnier added. Since its creation in the 60s, millions of doses have been successfully used.
And that success is precisely one of the current problems, Messonnier said. As the number of measles cases has been reduced by 99% since the discovery of the vaccine, parents no longer realize the risks.
To obtain collective immunity, that is to protect people who are not vaccinated and at risk (babies, pregnant women), the vaccination rate should be between 92 and 95% of the population, Fauci explained.
The national rate for children is close to that level, but there are large disparities between states and even between cities or schools.
The most sassy illustration of the problem is the Clark County, to the north of the city of Portland (northwest). Sixty-five of the 159 national cases are concentrated, and most affected are under 10 years of age.
Fifteen years ago, in that county, 96% of five-year-old children were vaccinated against measles. In 2017-2018, the figure dropped to 84%, considerably below the recommended limit.
In some schools, especially private schools, the vaccination rate against this disease, mumps and rubella varied between 20 and 30% in the past. More than half of the students have an exemption in some schools.
The public representatives of the state of Washington reacted to the epidemic by promoting a bill to eliminate the exemptions of vaccines for personal or philosophical reasons. However, the text does not mention religious motives.
And other states are considering putting an end to the exceptions. In the United States, only three of the 50 states (California, Mississippi and West Virginia) allow for exclusions only for medical reasons.
(With information from AFP and AP)