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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6 responses to “Measles: Also Appearing in New York and Maryland”

  1. Nik says:

    I’m curious if those infected were vaccinated or not. The assumption that this started because of an unvaccinated individual is unfounded.It shouldn’t be difficult to test the children who have gotten measles, which strain the virus came from, wild or the strain in the vaccine. This “news report” has very little information and appears to being trying to strike more fear into the hearts of parents than of trying to reduce measles rates

    • Christine Vara says:

      Nik- I don’t believe any assumption has been made in the post regarding the vaccination status of the individuals who are currently infected in NYC and MD, so I’m not really sure what you are referring to exactly. The fact is the measles virus is circulating. As referenced in yesterday’s post, the majority of those infected in the US so far in 2011 (based on the CDCs report) have been unvaccinated. An unvaccinated individual may be intentionally unvaccinated or can include children who have yet to receive the vaccine (based on their age). In the MD case, the news clip indicated that no information has been provided about the age, sex or vaccination status of the individual. The NY news report simply states that the 3 patients hadn’t contracted the disease overseas (which has been the case in some recent cases in the US).
      As mentioned in the post, I don’t see these reports as striking fear, but as a way to inform the public. If someone should start seeing symptoms, it is helpful if they realize that they may have been exposed to measles. And if in fact they do have measles, a quick diagnosis can be helpful in limiting the spread of the disease to others. If I were in any of those locations with my newborn I would want to know. I’m sure you can appreciate that people often “want to know” when they may be at risk of contracting a contagious disease, because most often they do not know.

  2. ChrisKid says:

    Obviously, the baby who was too young to be vaccinated was unvaccinated. You’re right that it didn’t say anything about the adults. If you’ve been reading the news stories as they come out, you’ll see that in most cases so far, it’s either obvious that the first patient caught it overseas or there has been testing done to determine the strain. And for practical purposes, what does it matter which strain it was? The measles vaccine is remarkably effective, and extremely safe. If measles is spreading in your area it’s only smart to make sure that you and yours are protected against it.

  3. Disgusted says:

    Sounds like the result of rampant illegal immigration to me.

    • Chris says:

      Please elaborate. Because the last few importations were from unvaccinated Americans going abroad, and then bringing back measles. Like the young person from Utah, and the very legal Somalia child in Minnesota. And don’t forget the American child who went to Switzerland in 2008 who infected lots of kids, including babies.
      So, do please tell us what evidence you have. Here is what I have (updated the 20th of May):
      It says “34 (74%) occurred in U.S. residents traveling abroad.”
      Oh, and vaccine status: “Unvaccinated persons accounted for 105 (89%) of the 118 cases.”

  4. […] the past few weeks, I have written several posts detailing measles outbreaks across the country and there has been quite a bit of coverage in the news regarding measles these […]

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