President Donald Trump has urged Americans to get vaccinated to protect themselves against measles.
Cases of the highly contagious but preventable disease have reached an all-time high since 2000.
Measles Cases Hit An All-Time High
Federal health officials have confirmed that there have been roughly 700 cases of measles in the past week alone. The resurgence of measles has concentrated in a few states, including Washington, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and California.
All in all, however, 22 states have been affected by the measles outbreak. As of writing, no deaths caused by measles have been reported in the United States. Measles had once been eradicated in the country, so its emergence has shocked the nation.
"The United States is seeing a resurgence of measles, a disease that had once been effectively eliminated from our country," said Alex Azar, secretary of the Health and Human Services.
President Trump Urges Americans To Get Measles Vaccine
On April 26, Friday, President Trump talked to reporters before departing and traveling from the White House to Indianapolis, Indiana.
"The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now. They have to get their shots," Trump said.
Public health officials have blamed the nationwide outbreak, which has emerged amid a rise in measles cases worldwide, on the misinformation about vaccine safety.
Americans have set aside getting the measles vaccine because of doubts about modern medicine, religious beliefs, and lingering impacts from a false claim that vaccine causes autism, which has already been debunked. In fact, there is no link between autism spectrum disorders and the measles vaccine.
Why Children Should Get Measles Vaccine
Measles is a highly infectious virus that lives in the mucus of the nose and the throat, and it spreads through the air and by coming into direct contact with a person who has it. It can cause pneumonia, the brain swelling condition known as encephalitis, and severe ear infections that lead to deafness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said measles can also cause premature birth in women, and in some cases, it can damage the central nervous system.
Some of the symptoms of measles include runny nose, red eyes, high fever, sore throat, rash, and tiny white bumps in the mouth. According to WebMD, the fever usually begins 10 to 12 days after being exposed to the virus, and it lasts 4 to 7 days.
Most people survive measles, but this highly contagious disease is also deadly. About one in every 10,000 measles cases usually end up in panencephalitis, which is usually fatal.
The best way to prevent measles is to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which is 97 percent effective after two doses. Children should get the vaccine between 12 and 15 months old, and then the second dose between 4 and 6 years old.
New Bill Seeks To Limit Measles Vaccine Exemptions
The growing measles outbreak across the country has pushed multiple public health efforts that seek to limit exposure to measles.
Quarantines have been set at two universities in California, namely at California State University, Los Angeles and at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Recently, lawmakers in Washington have voted to limit the exemption of measles vaccination as a response to the growing outbreak.
The new bill will require every child to get their vaccination so that they could be allowed in schools and child care centers. Parents have to provide proof that their children have already acquired the vaccine.
Photo: The White House | Flickr