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Resurgent Threat: Measles Outbreak Poses Renewed Challenge to US Elimination Efforts

Eliminate Measles in the US

United States: The threat associated to measles infection has not over yet. The local health authorities of the US has been still reporting new cases linked to the infection. Recently, the Cincinnati authorities reported that an out-of-town visitor has tested positive to the disease while in the Tri-State on Wednesday.

After reporting the infection, the Cincinnati Health Department shared the reports related to latest case and outlined that the infected person flew into CVG from Chicago on April 10. Amid this visit, the infected person took a Lyft to Hyatt Regency on West Fifth Street and stopped at Morton’s Steakhouse on Vine Street for takeout, according to the Fox19.

While informing the general public about the possible exposure, the health authority mentioned that there are possibilities that guests and staff who were present at the Hyatt after 9 pm and at Morton’s Steakhouse from 9 pm to 11 pm can get exposed to the infection.

The concern was then addressed by the CHD Director of Communications – Jose Marques who stated, “The virus can stay in the air for two hours. Anyone that may have been at the hotel as a guest, staff, going to the bar, they possibly could have come into contact.”

He continued, “But on the other hand, for those who are vaccinated or had measles in the past, their chances of getting it are very slim,” according to Fox 19.

The authorities also brief about the possible symptoms of the infection, which include:

High fever

cough

runny nose

watery eyes

A rash starts 3 to 5 days after other symptoms occur

Furthermore, the authorities mentioned that if anyone witnessed any of the signs or symptoms linked to the disease, they must consult a doctor or physician.

Measles and its Roots in the US:

Visual Representation of Measles Virus. Credit | Adobe Stock

In the era of the 1950s, an approximate populace of three million to four million denizens of America found themselves ensnared by the malevolent grasp of the measles virus annually, culminating in a grim tally of 400 to 500 demises and 48,000 hospital admissions per annum. However, since the inception of the inaugural measles inoculation in 1963, the incidence of cases witnessed an exponential downturn—eventuating in the formal proclamation of measles annihilation within the territorial confines of the United States in the annus mirabilis of 2000.

Throughout the chronological expanse of the 21st century, the nation has borne witness to several epochs wherein the incidence of measles dwindled to a trifling sum, registering fewer than 100 instances within the span of a calendar year.

Alas, the present epoch delineated by the inaugural trimester of the annum 2024 hath borne witness to a lamentable resurgence in the incidence of measles cases within the sovereign dominion of the United States, as delineated in a recent communiqué disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Denizens of the nation have brought to light a cumulative sum of 338 instances since the advent of January 1, 2020—whereof 97 cases, constituting approximately 29 percent of the aggregate total, have been documented within the temporal ambit commencing at the inception of the year 2024 and culminating on the vernal equinox of March 28, as per the aforementioned report. Moreover, as of the eleventh day of April, the tally of cases recorded in the annum 2024 has ascended to 121 cases.

In this regard, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital – John Brownstein told ABC News, “What was surprising about 2024 is that we’ve seen a significant increase. It’s an alarming number, because it indicates a trend going in the wrong direction for us, a virus that we have successfully controlled, a virus that we successfully have an effective vaccine for.”

In the United States, the elimination of measles remains intact, signifying the absence of a continuous chain of transmission lasting 12 consecutive months—a span that stretched to 63 days at its longest between 2020 and 2023. Furthermore, the substantial level of immunity conferred by vaccinations indicates a minimal risk of widespread transmission.

Nevertheless, the notable surge in reported measles cases during the initial quarter of 2024 poses a renewed threat to the state of elimination, as articulated by the authors, per smithsonianmag.com.

To thwart the propagation of measles, it is imperative for the nation to uphold elevated levels of measles vaccine coverage, with particular emphasis on immunizing under-vaccinated communities, according to the report. Notably, over 90 percent of individuals infected since the commencement of 2020 were either unvaccinated or possessed an indeterminate vaccination status.

Susan Hassig, an infectious disease researcher at Tulane University, underscores the preventability of this malady, asserting, “It is a preventable ailment and potentially perilous for their offspring.”

Measles, characterized by its highly contagious nature, manifests through symptoms such as elevated body temperature, coughing, rhinorrhea, ocular irritation, and a rash comprising small erythematous lesions. The condition can precipitate severe health ramifications, particularly affecting young children, including pneumonia and encephalitis. Approximately one-fifth of unvaccinated individuals who contract measles necessitate hospitalization, with respiratory or neurological complications resulting in the demise of one to three of every 1,000 infected children.

Transmission of the virus occurs via respiratory droplets expelled during coughing or sneezing by an infected individual, with an infection rate of up to 90 percent among susceptible nearby individuals. Notably, the infectious agent can linger in enclosed spaces for up to two hours.

The occurrence of two outbreaks in 2019 within under-vaccinated enclaves in New York and New York City precipitated a marked upsurge in cases, jeopardizing the elimination status of measles in the United States. In 2020, 12 out of a total of 13 reported cases surfaced prior to the implementation of COVID-19 lockdown measures in March, smithsonianmag.com mentioned.

Measles and Its Vaccine!

Visual Representation of Measles Vaccine. Credit | Getty images

The health officials plan to hit the vaccine crisis by administering a vaccine coverage rate of not less than 95% to the population. Unfortunately, progressing to 95% is a problem as it has been the rate for the last three years. One of the considerable changes that have been recorded is the decrease in immunization coverage among pre-kindergarten kids. In the 2019-2020 academic year, the rate was 95.2% compared to 93.1% in the 2022-2023 academic term. The just-published report, which was said to have, also revealed that the estimates of vaccine coverage fall below 90 percent for 12 states and the District of Columbia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supported the ideology that the time span of the first dose of two measles vaccines, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot, should be between 12 and 15 months, with the second and final dose between 4 and 6 years.

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