Measles Makes a Comeback

Posted on Feb 11, 2015 in Ola Lokahi

Although measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 as a result of a very successful vaccination program, the highly contagious respiratory viral illness has recently resurfaced.

Measles Outbreak
A multistate measles outbreak associated with travel to Disney resorts in California has been ongoing since December 2014; as of February 9, 2015, 114 individuals from 7 states (AZ, CA, CO, NE, OR, UT, and WA) have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having measles linked to this outbreak.  There have not been any Hawaii measles cases associated with this outbreak to date.

Measles in the United States
Looking just at 2015, 121 people with measles have been reported to CDC in 17 states and the District of Columbia. This is more than the number of cases reported in an entire year during the majority of years after measles eradication in the United States.  Hawaii has not had a case of measles in 2015, but 15 confirmed cases were identified in 2014.

These occurrences serve as an important reminder that measles continues to pose a risk, even within the United States; it is critical to keep up-to-date on immunizations.  High rates of vaccination in the community also protect those who are too young to be vaccinated or cannot be vaccinated because of a medical condition.

MMR is Safe and Effective
The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) is highly effective and very safe.  Concerns regarding a link to autism have been debunked; the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies analyzed more than 1,000 research articles in 2011 and concluded there is no evidence to support the link between immunizations and autism. measles-vaccination