Measles has not been an epidemic in the United States since the beginning of the twenty-first century, but the Global Virus Network (GVN) warned of a startling rise in cases detected in the first eight months of 2013.
The GVN attributed this rise in cases to the growing number of parents who choose not to get their children vaccinated.
“Measles is a dangerous disease. We lose sight of the dangers because currently the disease is rare in the US and usually imported from other countries where measles is more prevalent” Dr. Diane Griffin, GVN Center of Excellence Director and Alfred and Jill Sommer Professor and Chair W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said.
Griffin said in most cases measles clears up without lasting problems but that in some cases it can have other, more damaging health impacts.
“While most cases resolve with no complications in 10-14 days measles can cause diarrhea and ear infections as well as other serious side effects - seizures pneumonia and encephalitis which can each lead to death, Griffin said. "The most vulnerable in the US are those under the age of 12 to 15 months when the measles vaccine is usually given. Infants are therefore at the highest risk. Those who do not vaccinate their own children place infants of other families at risk as well as their own children.”
Researchers at GVN Centers of Excellence are working to improve the vaccination have accepted that there is still much work to be done to understand how complications due to measles develop.
The GVN is comprised of a a group of the world’s leading medical virology research centers.