Measles Resurgence with Outbreaks Occurring in the U.S.

World Today

The measles, a virus that kills an estimated 164,000 people around the world each year was declared eradicated in the United States back in 2000. But the U.S. is experiencing measles resurgence with outbreaks occurring in several states across the country. CCTV’s Karina Huber reports.

Measles Resurgence with Outbreaks Occurring in the U.S.

Measles Resurgence with Outbreaks Occurring in the U.S.

The measles, a virus that kills an estimated 164,000 people around the world each year was declared eradicated in the United States back in 2000. But the U.S. is experiencing measles resurgence with outbreaks occurring in several states across the country. CCTV’s Karina Huber reports.
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This neighborhood in northern Manhattan is where New York City’s most recent measles outbreak originated. To date 21 people in the city have contracted the virus this year.

In California the number is even higher. 49 cases have been confirmed in the state since January. Other recent outbreaks have been reported in Oregon, Texas and Hawaii.

Stephen Morse, Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health says lower immunization rates are partly to blame for the outbreaks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 90.8 percent of children between the ages of 19 to 35 months were immunized in the U.S. in 2012. That’s fewer than in 2011 when the rate was 91.6 percent.

Some parents choose not to immunize their children for religious reasons卭thers because they fear a link to autism. It’s a belief that has been pushed forward by television personality Jenny McCarthy, whose son is autistic. But the theory really gained traction after a 1998 report in medical journal The Lancet that purported to find a link.

But that report was later retracted for being based on weak science and its author, Andrew Wakefield, is accused of being paid some 675,000 dollars for the report by lawyers seeking to sue vaccine makers clear conflict of interest. No other studies have found a link between vaccination and autism.

But Morse says it’s very hard to persuade some people to change their viewpoints once they’ve made up their minds about something. He says it’s called “confirmation bias”.

Some states like California, Vermont and Washington are either pushing for or have recently enacted laws making it more difficult for families to opt out of vaccinating their children. The hope is to stop people in communities like these from contracting a virus that was once thought to be a problem of the past.