Measles, the most dreaded and feared of all contagious diseases was eradicated after a long fight which lasted a couple of decades. The mission to wipe out measles completely began somewhere in the mid-20th century and it lasted till the early years of the 21st. It had been known to have vanished completely with no signs of occurrence anywhere in the US.
The comeback of measles in the US:
The return of measles in this year was primarily due to the infection occurring within the US from travellers and immigrants. When new people get access to the insides of a country, they bring with them all sorts of infection that may be prevalent in their home-country. Measles may very well be one of those which led to the spread of it within the US.
Also, a vast majority of frequent travellers are known to carry such viruses from their journeys responsible for transmitting air-borne diseases like measles. However, the good news is that the outbreak of the infection can be taken care of by vaccines. Measles is one of those few diseases whose vaccinations are abundant and easily accessible.
Many scientists and health-care professionals who travel to Asia, Africa, and the Middle-East in the hopes of studying new diseases, and their causes and prevention may unknowingly carry the viruses along with them back to the US. It is one of the most common of ways, which could have played a role in the spread of measles in the country.
The consequences of the upturn:
Infants and children are most prone to this infection. With a still-developing immune system, they are the most likely to fall prey to infections than fully grown adults. There have been instances of children spreading infection to their classmates during school hours or to other kids while spending time together playing. The measles virus can also be carried via adults to infants and new-borns immediately putting them at a very high risk of contracting the disease.
The second category of people at risk, after infants and children, are the sick ones. They usually suffer from declined immunity and are easy targets for opportunistic infections. Their immune system is not capable enough to fight back infection, and hence they end up contracting the disease. Here is when vaccination comes into play. The immune system of a properly vaccinated individual will withstand the virus and put it off before it can cause any harm.
Steps taken to eradicate the issue:
Since measles is quite contagious and easily spreads from one to another, it is important to have all of the citizens vaccinated against it. The infected person starts transmitting the virus around them 4-5 days prior to being diagnosed with the infection. Reports have shown that 90% of vaccinated people stand a tough chance against the air-borne virus.
Having said that, enough cannot be stressed on the importance of getting yourself and everyone else vaccinated to stay safe in case an epidemic breaks out. For a disease as highly contagious as measles, prevention is more important than treatment. The deaths occurring due to measles in and outside of the US are mainly due to improper prevention facilities. Hence, the only way out is to provide vaccinations to all.
Such viral infections can also result in other diseases and symptoms like pneumonia. Children as young as 12-15 months should ideally be given their first dose of vaccines, and the second one at 4-6 years of age. Just two doses of the vaccine are enough to tackle the disease and prevent it from happening. Developing nations like Bhutan and Maldives have completely eradicated the onset of measles in their respective countries. The residents no longer have to worry about contracting the disease. We sincerely hope the same to be said soon about The United States of America.