Health experts from the United States warned on Wednesday about the return of measles in recent years in the country, especially in communities that refuse vaccination and obtain exemptions for religious or personal reasons.
Since January 1, they have declared six spotlights measles in the states of Washington, Colorado and New York, leaving 159 affected for the disease. The disease was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000, which means that it has not spread in the country. In addition, cases have increased in recent years and 2019 is going to be particularly bad.
That return is "unacceptable," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday in a speech to the US Congress. Outbreaks "are tragic because they are totally preventable," said Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Kentucky.
O Measles virus is one of the most contagious. You can stay in a place until two hours after the infected person leaves.
Most American measles epidemics begin when the virus reaches the body of a person returning from a trip abroad, since the disease is still very active in many countries. So It spreads among people who have not received a vaccine, who tend to live close to each other.
Yes, explain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts, who mention decades of use by millions of children each year and ensure that their own children get vaccinated.
In the late 1990s, one study linked the triple vaccine to autism, but this study was considered a fraudand Fauci said further research found no risk of autism from the vaccine.
Even so, misinformation about the vaccine is extensive. Fauci said the solution is not to criticize people who do not have how to know what is false. Instead, "we need to educate them to show them what the evidence is "and to prevent the spread of false news.
"There are groups of people who have questions about vaccines," said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC.
In the past five years, 12 out of 26 outbreaks (more than 5 patients) have reported themselves in "very close" groups, such as the Somali community of Minnesota in 2017 or the Orthodox Jewish community in the Brooklyn borough of New York. last year.
Disinformation about vaccines is one of the factors behind this data, experts say. blamed social networks for posting false information about the risks of vaccines.
The vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella is "incredibly safe," added Nancy Messonnier. Since it was created in the 1960s, millions of doses have been used successfully.
And that success is precisely one of the current problems, Messonnier said. As the number of cases of measles has been reduced by 99% since the discovery of the vaccine, the parents no longer perceive the risks.
In order to obtain collective immunity, ie to protect unvaccinated and at-risk (babies, pregnant women), the vaccination rate should be between 92 and 95% of the population, Fauci explained.
The national rate for children is close to that level, but there are large disparities between states and even between cities or schools.
The most striking illustration of the problem is the Clark County, north of the city of Portland (northwest). Sixty-five of the 159 national cases are concentrated there, and the majority of those affected are children under the age of 10.
Fifteen years ago, in that county, 96% of five-year-olds were vaccinated against measles. In 2017-2018, the number dropped to 84%, considerably below the recommended limit.
In some schools, especially private ones, the vaccination rate against this disease, mumps and rubella ranged from 20 to 30% in the past. More than half of the students are exempt in some schools.
Public officials in the state of Washington responded to the epidemic by pushing for a bill to eliminate vaccine exemptions for personal or philosophical reasons. The text does not, however, mention religious reasons.
And other states are considering ending the exceptions. In the United States, only three of the 50 states (California, Mississippi and West Virginia) allow exemptions only for medical reasons.
(With information from AFP and AP)