Politicians debate vaccines as US faces measles outbreak

February 4, 2015 5:40 am
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A doctor prepares to administer a measles vaccination to a child at the Miami Children's Hospital on January 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida/AFP
A doctor prepares to administer a measles vaccination to a child at the Miami Children’s Hospital on January 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida/AFP
WASHINGTON, United States, Feb 4 – US President Barack Obama and American health authorities appealed to the public to vaccinate their children as the country faces an outbreak of measles due to some parents believing vaccines against deadly diseases are dangerous.

Considered eradicated from the US in 2000, measles re-emerged in December in an outbreak clustered around the Disneyland amusement park in California.

Since then, 102 cases of measles have been reported in 14 states according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We are very concerned by the growing number of people who are susceptible to measles and the possibility that we could have a large outbreak in this country as a result,” head of the CDC Tom Frieden said over the weekend while encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.

Measles causes fever and rash and in severe cases can lead to pneumonia or brain swelling. The disease is highly contagious because it is transmitted through the air.

The United States had 644 cases of measles in 2014, a record number since 2000. There were 173 cases in 2013.

The resurgence of the disease in the US coincides with a movement of some parents refusing to vaccinate their children.

Many people who don’t vaccinate their children say they fear a triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella is responsible for increasing cases of autism – a theory repeatedly disproven by various studies.

Other people refuse vaccination on religious or political grounds.

The controversy dates back to the publication of a now debunked article in the Lancet medical journal in 1998. The media has been heavily criticized for republishing information in the report that was withdrawn in 2010.

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