Children and Adolescents Still Susceptible To Measles
December 15, 2016
Many believe that while measles used to be a threat, it no longer is, especially since many children are vaccinated against transmission. New studies and findings have proved that this is not at all the case, and that children and adolescents throughout the United States are still at risk of contracting measles.
The foremost protective barrier of measles transmission is the vaccination that can be given in infancy. Researchers at Emory University recently analyzed data from the National Immunization Society (NIS-Teen), to find out just how prevalent the measles infection is among children and teens throughout the United States. The study also revealed current immunization rates, and analyzed the potential risks that the virus poses, should vaccination rates diminish in upcoming years.
Measles is an extremely contagious respiratory infection known as rubeola. A virus causes the illness, and its symptoms are a total-body skin rash, cough, fever and runny nose. It is an easy virus to spread, and is transmitted through contact with infected mucus and saliva. Because children are so hands-on with one another, and often forget to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, it is extremely easy to pass through daycare and childcare centers in particular.
The study showed that more than 12% of children and teenagers are susceptible to the measles virus. More children and adolescents develop a susceptibility to the infection when vaccination rates drop. Children who are under the age of 3 comprise the largest risk group, with nearly 25% of them being prone to acquiring the virus. The data exposed that nationwide, almost 5% of teenagers have not had the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. In certain states, the amount of unvaccinated teens reaches as high as 6%.
Because children under the age of one year old cannot yet be vaccinated, it is extremely important for older children, as well as adolescents, to receive the vaccine. If they have not, they can transmit the virus to infants, who are prone to multiple complications from measles, some of them even life-threatening. The United States must maintain a 92%-95% immunity threshold, meaning 92%-95% of people who cannot contract the virus. This percentage must be maintained to keep the spread of the virus at bay and to prohibit the possibility of an outbreak or epidemic. Currently, 91.9% is the vaccination rate in the country. Should it drop any lower, researchers and scientists warn, there could be a measles outbreak, leading to a nationwide epidemic.
The measles virus can cause many major health complications, especially in young children. Some of the complications are ear infections, inflammation of the voice box, pneumonia, eye infections, diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Some of these complications can, in severe cases, even lead to death. Measles is a preventable disease and yet it still kills people—most of them children—annually. The best way to protect children is to be careful to keep them on a strict, recommended vaccination schedule, having them be immunized as soon as they are old enough. Children can be vaccinated after one year of age. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s susceptibility to measles, vaccinations or how to decrease their risk of exposure, please contact your healthcare professional.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Discuss Health Complications Due to the Measles Virus
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