The crazy anti-vaccination activists have struck again. Arizona is having the worst measles outbreak this year. There have been 22 new cases since late May. The outbreak is at the Eloy Detention Center, a privately-run immigration detention center.
Measles was officially eliminated from the United States in 2000, but we still have outbreaks from people coming into the country. Unfortunately, the number of cases has risen from 37 in 2004 to 667 people in 2014. Anyone who has not been vaccinated is vulnerable.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that measles could be re-established because people:
- forget to get vaccinated on time,
- don’t know that they need a vaccine dose (this is most common among adults), or
- refuse vaccines for religious, philosophical or personal reasons.
Yes, this means you, anti-vaxxers. The source of this particular outbreak was likely a migrant, but there were employees at the facility who were not vaccinated. Measles is a highly contagious virus; it affects about 22 million people around the world each year.
Arizona’s Pinal County health director, Thomas Schryer, said:
“So they’re actually the ones that are passing along the measles among each other and then going out into the community. Once they understand how important it is and the outcomes it can have on the community, they tend to cooperate.”
We had another threat of an outbreak in April. A child at an elementary school in California came to school infected, and there are a lot of unvaccinated children. Dr. Karen Smith, the State Public Health Officer at the California Department of Public Health said:
“As the state’s public health officer, it’s concerning to receive a report of a child with measles because it’s a disease that can easily be prevented. Immunization is the best way to protect against the measles. Two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine are approximately 97 percent effective at preventing disease in exposed persons.”
Last year, we had a measles outbreak around Disneyland in California. There were 136 cases, and the outbreak even jumped into Canada. Canadian health services were dealing with their own measles outbreak directly related to the one in California.
Here is a news clip about the outbreak when it was beginning a month ago: