US CDC issues measles warning as 23 cases emerge; emphasizes importance of MMR vaccination

Visual Representation for a baby suffering from measles | Credits: Shutterstock
Visual Representation for a baby suffering from measles | Credits: Shutterstock

United States: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning following 23 confirmed measles cases detected between December 1, 2023, and January 23, 2024. Out of the total, seven (7) cases were found among international travelers.

The health agency has sent a notification via email to healthcare providers across several US states, focusing on the surge of the disease. The notification has been sent to the authorities of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Washington DC area.

Medical Director of the Department of Infection Prevention at UNC Medical Center – Dr David Weber, stated, “Of all the current infectious diseases we have, measles is the most infectious one, substantially more infectious than flu, COVID or RSV, meaning if I am infected and everyone around me was susceptible, something like 15 to 18 people around me would become infected,” according to abc11.  

He added, “It’s airborne. The virus hangs around the air for a very long time. In fact, there are cases where the patient with measles left a room in the emergency department, and up to two hours later, people going in that room acquired measles.”

Several reports have underlined that the disease was declared eliminated in 2000 by the health authorities of the United States. However, in 2019, the nation witnessed a sudden surge in cases and registered more than 1,100 cases.

In this regard, Dr Weber highlighted, “The more infectious the disease is, the higher percentage of the population that has to be immune either from vaccine or disease. Well, we haven’t had the disease here in the US in a long time. So more than 95% of the people have to be immune by a vaccine, and we know that that number in many locales is below 95%,” according to abc11.com.

The health authorities have revealed that North Carolina has reported no measles-related cases this year or in 2023.

The concern was also addressed by the NCDHHS, which revealed that during the school year 2022-2023, as many as 94 percent of the kindergartners were fully vaccinated – which is slightly above the national vaccination rate of 93.1 percent.

MMR Vaccine – a must-have dose!

According to the health authorities, the MMR vaccine – which can used against measles, mumps, and rubella is a must-have jab at such a crucial time. The MMR is a two-dose regimen, which is recommended by CDC.

Vaccines for MMR – Measles, Mumps and Rubella | Credits: Getty Images

The first dose, out of two, must be given between 12 and 15 months, and the second must be received between four and six years of age.

While addressing the importance of the MMR vaccine dose, Dr Weber stated, “If you’ve had both doses and had a normal immune system, it’s 99% effective in preventing infection,” as quoted by abc11.

Impressive vaccination rate among public schools of North Carolina!

The NCDHHS revealed that during the last academic year, the following vaccination rate was seen in the kindergartens of each county:

Alamance: 97.67%

Chatham: 96.47%

Cumberland: 91.19%

Durham: 82.24%

Harnett: 94.04%

Johnston: 96.9%

Nash: 88.77%

Orange: 96.83%

Person: 100%

Pitt: 96.41%

Vance: 96.3%

Wake: 96.01%

Wilson: 95.13%

Symptoms of the infections!

According to the health authorities, some of the common symptoms of the infection could be:

High fever,

Cough,

Runny Nose,

Conjunctivitis, and

Rashes.

Representation showing symptoms of Measles infection

However, further, Weber emphasized, “Like flu, RSV, and COVID, you become infectious before showing any symptoms or signs.”

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