In 2000 measles was eliminated in The United States.19 years later it’s rapidly spreading across the country.
One of the larger outbreaks is in New York, where one county has decided to forbid anyone who is under 18 and not vaccinated against measles from public places. The CDC has confirmed 300 cases of measles in 15 states.
The disease has yet to be reported here in Massachusetts. Dr. John O’Reilly of Baystate Medical Center said residents of The Commonwealth should still be aware since the disease is so contagious.
“We are a plane ride away from someone coming here to Springfield and bringing measles with them. It happened in Boston a few years ago, there was an outbreak in Ireland and people came here to Massachusetts to visit relatives,” Dr. O’Reilly said.
According to the CDC measles is spread so easily that 90 percent of people can become infected by simply being near someone with the virus.
Dr. O’Reilly said the nationwide outbreak is due to lack of vaccination in certain communities.
“When there are communities where less than 85 percent of the people are vaccinated, the measles virus itself can get into the community and quickly spread and impact the people that haven’t been immunized.“
O’Reilly said the vaccination rate is about average in Hampden County.
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- California may toughen immunization rules to block measles