Measles Pose Threat to Unvaccinated Infants

Filed under: In The News, Health & Safety: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Health & Safety: Big Kids, Health & Safety: Tweens, Health & Safety: Teens, Health

Measles

Children and adults who remain unvaccinated and develop measles put others in their community at risk. Credit: Getty Images

The United States has been hit by the worst measles outbreak since 1996, posing a threat to infants too young to be vaccinated against the disease.

Quick! Blame someone!

The Los Angeles Times says you can wave a finger (you choose which one) at travelers to Europe and Asia.

Think of measles as filmmaker Roman Polanski. Although eliminated from the United States, it took up residence overseas. Occasionally, it meets with American visitors, visitors who bring home little souvenirs from their trip.

Bear in mind, the Times reports, "outbreak" doesn't mean the return of the plague. There have been 118 cases (none of them fatal) in the United States reported to the Centers for Disease Control between January and May.

Still, according to the Times, that's the highest number of cases reported during that time period since 1996.

Because infants younger than 12 months old are too young to be vaccinated, health officials' brows are slightly knitted.

Your best defense, CDC officials tell the Times, is to get adults and older kids vaccinated.

"Children and adults who remain unvaccinated and develop measles also put others in their community at risk," the CDC says in an official statement. "For infants too young for routine vaccination and persons with medical conditions that contraindicate measles immunization, the risk for measles complications is particularly high. These persons depend on high MMR vaccination coverage among those around them to protect them from exposure."

Oh, and the next time you go to Europe? Just bring back a T-shirt.

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