Atlanta – The incidence of measles in the United States remains on the rise, with at least 704 cases registered so far in 2019, the greatest number in 25 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which insisted this Monday on the importance of vaccination.
Almost 75 percent of the cases are unvaccinated individuals, the CDC said in a teleconference to deliver its weekly report on measles, a contagious disease that US health authorities declared eradicated from the country back in the year 2000.
Officials of the CDC urged everyone to be vaccinated and to pay no attention to the misinformation and erroneous ideas about the safety of vaccines and their presumed link with autism.
“I call upon healthcare providers to encourage parents, and expectant parents, to vaccinate their children for their own protection and to avoid the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases within their families and communities. We must join together as a Nation to once again eliminate measles and prevent future disease outbreaks,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said.
According to the CDC, the current outbreak was originated by unvaccinated individuals who were infected abroad and then brought the disease back to the US.
Measles is still a fairly common disease in several parts of the world and takes approximately 89,780 lives per year.
Of the total number of measles patients registered up to April 26, 71 percent were unvaccinated, 11 percent were vaccinated but with only one of the recommended doses, and 18 percent had no idea whether they had been vaccinated or not.
While 21 states have noted an increase in measles cases, most have occurred in three outbreaks, two of them in New York state.
In the Empire State, the two outbreaks were concentrated in strict Orthodox Jewish communities, one in the New York City borough of Brooklyn and the other in suburban Rockland County.
An ongoing dispute exists among Brooklyn’s Orthodox communities between those in favor of the inoculations and those against them, because, say the latter, they contain the DNA of monkeys, rats and pigs or are made from the cells of aborted human fetuses and cause autism.
“It is imperative that we correct misinformation and reassure fearful parents so they protect their children from illnesses with long-lasting health impacts,” Redfield said.
US President Donald Trump has on several occasions expressed his concern about a possible relationship between vaccines and the incidence of autism in children, a connection based on a study discredited by the scientific community.
Nonetheless, he recently urged parents to have their children vaccinated after seeing the seriousness of the outbreaks affecting the country.
Close to 1.3 percent of children under age 2 in the United States are not vaccinated against measles, according to the CDC, which is “working to reach the small percentage of vaccine-hesitant individuals so they too understand the importance of vaccines,” Redfield said.