CDC, AMA Urge Americans to Make Sure They Are Vaccinated Against Measles

Cases are rising in the United States and globally due to pockets of unvaccinated people
CDC, AMA Urge Americans to Make Sure They Are Vaccinated Against Measles
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TUESDAY, March 19, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- As measles cases rise globally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association each issued advisories on Monday stressing the need for vaccination.

Besides a total of 58 known cases of measles in the United States, "many countries, including travel destinations such as Austria, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom, are experiencing measles outbreaks," the CDC said in a statement. Ahead of the summer travel season, "to prevent measles infection and reduce the risk of community transmission from importation, all U.S. residents traveling internationally, regardless of destination, should be current on their MMR [measles-mumps-rubella] vaccinations," the agency said.

Measles is one of the most contagious illnesses: It is thought that 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are in contact with an infected person will become infected themselves. However, the standard two-dose measles vaccination is 97 percent effective in preventing infection, the CDC noted.

In the AMA statement, AMA President Jesse Ehrenfeld, M.D., said rising rates of antivaxxer sentiment since 2019 have left Americans more vulnerable to measles -- a disease that was once nearly eradicated in the United States.

“As evident from the confirmed measles cases reported in 17 states so far this year, when individuals are not immunized as a matter of personal preference or misinformation, they put themselves and others at risk of disease -- including children too young to be vaccinated, cancer patients, and other immunocompromised people," Ehrenfeld said. "In fact, with lower vaccination coverage among kindergarteners during the 2022-23 school year, the CDC estimates that approximately 250,000 kindergartners are at risk for measles infection."

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