Warning Issued: Forgotten Disease Spreading

Warning Issued: Forgotten Disease Spreading

(DailyDig.com) – The startling comeback of measles in the last few years in the US has the medical community concerned. According to Nicole Saphier, M.D., the U.S. once eradicated measles, but its resurgence, particularly in border crossing immigrants, highlights the issue of people in contact with those who have never received the vaccine.

The contagion rate for measles is high, as the virus may survive airborne for many hours. This allows the virus to easily transfer to people who are not immune to it. The most susceptible individuals to contract measles include those with a low immune system, pregnant women, and young children.

Saphier said the fact that the US and many other nations successfully eradicated measles was due to the immunization rates during the vaccination programs. The rate of immunization was so widespread that the virus essentially died out, unable to infect enough hosts.

Herd immunity gave protection against the virus, not just to those who received the vaccine but also to people who were not able to be vaccinated. The return of the measles virus may be the result of the countries that the immigrants are coming from having a low immunization rate. It also may be the current hesitancy of people to take vaccines due to the constant demand for the pandemic vaccine, according to Saphier.

She said healthcare professionals must discuss the difference between vaccines for illnesses that are less severe or transmittable and vaccines for extremely contagious and possibly lethal illnesses. The goal of vaccines for the latter types of illnesses is to prevent the disease from spreading (herd immunity) to those who are more vulnerable to contracting it.

During the pandemic, the healthcare industry, led by the CDC, was wrong to push the vaccine when it was obvious that low-risk people, young adults and children, should not take the vaccine. The current vaccine hesitancy is now a result of this error by the CDC to not change their recommendations for the vaccine, according to Saphier.

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