Recent Measles Cases Underscore Continued Need for Vaccination

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Two cases of measles have been confirmed in Massachusetts, and medical experts are encouraging people to get vaccinated. They are also advising healthcare providers to be looking out for future cases. “I would strongly encourage all parents to get their children vaccinated and avoid the alternative,” Dr. Mark Pasternack, chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital told the Boston Herald. “You don’t know how bad this disease can be until you see it front and center.”

Vaccination is a vital part in combating the measles, a highly contagious disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is a leading cause of childhood death globally, even though it can be managed through a safe, cost-effective vaccine. The incidence declined by 78 percent between 2000 and 2012 due to vaccination, and before widespread vaccination was introduced globally, an estimated 2.6 million people died each year from the measles. In the U.S., vaccination has kept incidence rates low. An average of 60 cases are reported each year, many following international travel. However, in the first eight months of 2013, 159 cases were confirmed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states.

The Massachusetts Department of Health issued a clinical measles alert on February 24, identifying two cases. According to the release, four cases of measles have been diagnosed in the Commonwealth in 2014. Of the two recent cases, one was identified after international travel, and both had an unknown vaccination history. A total of three of the four cases followed international travel, but no further information was provided in the alert about the previous patients.

Identified as Case #1 and Case #2, the two people with measles reside in the Metrowest region of Massachusetts. An additional health alert was issued for the Trader Joe’s in Framingham. It informs customers that a person with an infectious case was in the store February 15 and February 16. Samba, a restaurant, has a similar warning for people who dined there on February 15. An unnamed corporate environment has been exposed to the disease, a third release states. Health officials are currently working to compile a list of places the person with measles frequented when the disease could be spread.