Measles: Also Appearing in New York and Maryland
Jun 09, 2011

After writing yesterday’s post concerning the recent rise of measles cases, I was saddened to see several more news alerts today regarding measles in both New York City and Maryland.
ABC’s Eyewitness News coverage announced that three more people have contracted measles in New York, including two adults and one 8 month old child, too young to have been vaccinated.  These cases add to the latest outbreak which has sickened 13 people since January.
What I thought was most interesting about the coverage was the report that “None of them had recently traveled abroad, which officials say means the virus is now spreading here from person to person.” Now with that quote it’s hard to pin this on the prevalence of measles in other countries.  Instead, we are left with the reality that there are enough under-vaccinated people in the US to allow the disease to continue to spread.
In Maryland, CBS News coverage was helping get the word out about the first reported measles case in that state since 2009.  They were trying to alert people as to the various places they could have been exposed to this contagious disease, which included a high school graduation ceremony held in the UMBC Retriever Athletic Center, as well as Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.
Personally, I’ve always been impressed by the way in which our public health employees are able to track these things down and issue such detailed alerts.  Fortunately, measles vaccine provides very effective protection against infection (over 95% effective when given just one dose and close to 99% effective after two doses), but these warnings are important nonetheless.  Sometimes a child who is too young to have received their measles vaccine may be exposed.  Additionally, measles can be very dangerous for pregnant women by increasing their risk for early labor, miscarriage or low-birth weight babies.
Certainly there will be more news tomorrow, and the next day, that are sadly similar to these stories.  They are discussed here not to instill fear, but to help inform people who believe these diseases are no longer a threat to our community.  Once we realize that these diseases are still circulating out there, than perhaps we will understand the importance of protecting ourselves and our children through immunization.  We’ve come so far in defeating this disease.  Let’s not let measles get the upper hand now.

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