According to data from the Center for Disease Control, there have already been more cases of Measles in 2019 than there were in the entirety of 2010 or 2012. And if this pace stays the same, it will be on par with 1994, when there was 958 cases of Measles in the United States.
It’s worth noting that the chart above shows cases in 2019 as of January 31st, 2019. There have since been more cases of Measles that have been verified by public health departments, however the CDC data is only updated once each week.
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It’s not much of a surprise that Measles has spread so easily throughout Clark County, Washington. After all, nearly a quarter of the children entering kindergarten were not fully vaccinated.
But according to Big Think, it’s not all bad news coming out of Washington. They reported that some clinics in Washington are said they have seen a 500 percent increase in vaccination rates this year.
Vaccines have been a victim of their own success, with people forgetting how contagious and dangerous many of these preventable diseases are. We simply don’t see people hooked up to iron lungs and aren’t used to hearing about Measles outbreaks. While it’s infuriating that so many parents failed to properly protect their children (and other children around them, for that matter), it’s great that many parents are finally realizing that they were wrong and are now taking appropriate action.
“During an outbreak is when you see an influx of patients who would otherwise be vaccine-hesitant,” Virginia Ramos, infection control nurse with Sea Mar Community Health Center, which runs six sites that offer vaccines in Clark County, told Kaiser Health News. “We’re just happy that we’re prepared and that there is vaccine available.”
Big Think goes on to explain why Measles is so contagious:
“The measles virus has developed a strategy of diabolic elegance,” he said. “It first hijacks immune cells patrolling the lungs to get into the host. It then travels within other immune cells everywhere in the body. However, the infected immune cells deliver their cargo specifically to those cells that express the protein nectin-4, the new receptor. Remarkably, those cells are located in the trachea. Thus, the virus emerges from the host exactly where needed to facilitate contagion.”