United States: There have been over 9 million measles cases, including 136,000 deaths worldwide in 2022 alone. The consequence is that the re-released records are getting upturned by 18 percent and 43 percent compared to the previous years.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) announcement ominously states, over 50 percent of the world’s countries are at high risk of experiencing a major measles outbreak, and the United States is, unfortunately, one of those countries.

Rising measles cases in the US

Since 2019, the United States has been getting closer to one of the worst measles years since it had a mass measles Outbreak in 30 years.

Per a CBS broadcast, by mid-February 2024, there must have been at least 15 states in the US that had notified high reports of measles cases and ones introduced too late to hinder an uncontrolled outbreak.

Vaccination rate in the US

Although the US has an ongoing measles crisis, the vaccination rate for the disease is at the lowest level in 10 years.

Moreover, a leading Florida surgeon general, while responding to local outbreaks, recommended that it run counter to science and public health recommendations.

Therefore, the spread of misinformation and lack of information from anti-vaccine activists online promote their misguidance that measles is not a serious health threat with measles vaccinations are not important to contain the disease.

However, with clear evidence from the expert’s collected data, measles is extremely dangerous for anyone, especially to those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and young children, reported CBS News.

How serious is measles as a disease?

Visual Representation | Credit / Getty images

Measles is said by experts to be the most deadly infectious disease in human history; in 1963, before the vaccine’s existence, around 30 million people were infected with measles, whereas 2.6 million people died from the disease each year worldwide.

Moreover, in the US, measles was responsible for around 3 million to 4 million infections. It included 48,000 cases of hospitalization, 1,000 cases of encephalitis or swelling of the brain, and 500 deaths each year.

Moreover, as per the agency, up to nine out of 10 people who get exposed to the virus will become infected if they don’t have protection from vaccines.

As per the CBS News reports, the lifetime of staying active in the air of the measles virus is up to two hours after an infected person leaves the room. Moreover, the virus can also stay hidden in an unknowing victim for one to two weeks, and sometimes even up to 21 days, even before the onset of symptoms.

Even infected people can cause measles to spread for up to four days before even developing its signs, such as rashness, and for up to four days after.

Symptoms of measles – experts

Measles displays the initial symptoms, which are the same as many other common viral illnesses in the United States, such as cough, fever, runny nose, and red eyes.

After several days of contraction, symptoms that begin include tiny white spots developing inside the mouth and the spreading of facial rash to the rest of the body.

Mostly, the symptoms improve, but in one out of five unvaccinated children, there will be hospitalization involved; one in every 1000 will develop swelling of the brain, which would lead to brain damage, and three out of 1000 will die, as CBS News reported.

Among unvaccinated people, such as pregnant women, measles can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and even low birth weight.

Cases of severe complications among measles patients

Severe complications risk persists even after a person appears to have fully recovered from the disease.

In rare cases, people develop a brain disease called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis that is developed after seven to ten years of infection, which further leads to memory loss, involuntary movements, seizures, blindness, and eventually death.

Financial losses incurred by measles

Beyond these personal health implications, the economic cost to society for handling these measles pandemics is remarkable, too. For instance, a measles outbreak that broke out in Washington State in 2019 was estimated to have cost USD 3.4 million.

Moreover, necessary efforts to control measles outbreaks pull millions of dollars worth of critical resources out of other indispensable public health functions such as checking the safety of food products, preventing injuries and chronic diseases, and responding promptly to disasters.

Vaccination effectiveness against measles

At present, the measles vaccine application has been bettered. Thereby, more than 97 percent of people who have received two doses of vaccines become lifelong protection agents, a phenomenon in which the vaccinations themselves have been the victim of itself.

The first mass measles vaccination campaigns avoided 99 percent of measles cases as compared to before the measles vaccine was available, so most people in the United States don’t know how serious measles was prior to the vaccine era.

The effective vaccination programs in the U.S. are known for their success. However, any person can still catch measles in their community just by being close to it. Usually, it is the Americans coming home from overseas unvaccinated that bring measles to the United States, but it can also be from foreign traveling visitors, as CBS News reported.

For people who are traveling out of the country, the risk of getting measles is even higher, as there are a lot of outbreaks around the world, particularly within travel destinations.

The public health leaders who advocate vaccination promote and additionally settle on the simple and proven infectious disease containment measures should support the fact that measles disease spreads are prevented.

Almost any illness, complication, hospitalization, or death from measles that could be prevented is an unnecessarily high cost, as CBS News reported.

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