vaccinations

KUNI TAKAHASHI / TFW CHICAGO TRIBUNE FILE

Florida is experiencing one of the worst Hepatitis A outbreaks in recent history. The State Department of Health puts the number of cases for this year at 1,466 as of Monday. That’s more than the 1,175 total cases reported in the past 5 years.

How Measles Detectives Work To Contain An Outbreak

Jun 10, 2019

On any given day, more than 4,000 people pass through the library at California State University-Los Angeles. 

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

Amid one of the largest measles outbreaks in the U.S. in recent history, vaccines are on the minds of many Americans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that the number of measles cases this year has climbed to 839 in 23 states, affecting mostly unvaccinated people. Most people in the U.S. are vaccinated against measles when they're children as part of the routine immunizations they get in primary care.

On a Tuesday afternoon last month — a work and school day — more than 1,000 parents and children made their way to the state Capitol in Salem, Ore., bearing signs reading, "hands off our rights" and chanting "we do not consent!"

Like activists around the country this year, they had been mobilized by what for many is a noncontroversial fact of life: vaccines.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Hundreds of students and faculty at two universities in Los Angeles have been asked to stay home unless they can prove that they've been vaccinated against measles.

The LA campuses of the University of California and California State University imposed the quarantine after they became aware of people infected with measles who had potentially exposed hundreds. At UCLA, a student exposed at least 500 people earlier this month; at Cal State, someone with measles went to a library and encountered hundreds.

Measles is surging. Last week the U.S. recorded 90 cases, making this year's outbreak the second largest in more than two decades.

So far this year, the U.S. has confirmed 555 measles cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday. That's 50 percent higher than the total number recorded last year, even though we're only about a quarter of the way through 2019.

And the virus isn't slowing down.

Associated Press via Miami Herald

As five U.S. states deal with outbreaks of measles, a case was reported recently in Broward County.

While one individual case does not mean an outbreak, South Florida health officials are stressing the importance of vaccinations. And they want to make sure people of all ages here are well-informed about the disease and who might be most at risk.

A mumps outbreak that began at Philadelphia's Temple University in February has snowballed, with the city's health department now reporting 106 cases associated with the flare-up.

University officials say the vast majority of students involved had been immunized previously with the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

So why are so many still appearing on campus with the mumps' signature swollen cheeks?

In a move aimed at getting the public's attention, officials in New York's Rockland County have declared a state of emergency in response to an ongoing measles outbreak. Among the measures: a 30-day ban on any unvaccinated people under the age of 18 from being in public places.

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday to talk about how he decided to get vaccinated against the wishes of his mother, who is anti-vaccine.

There's strong new evidence that a common childhood vaccine is safe.

A large study released Monday finds no evidence that the vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella increases the risk of autism. The study of children born in Denmark is one of the largest ever of the MMR vaccine.

Distrust of vaccines may be almost as contagious as measles, according to medical anthropologist Elisa Sobo.

More than 100 people have been infected with measles this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Over 50 of those cases have occurred in southwest Washington state and northwest Oregon in an outbreak that led Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency on Jan. 25.

Some public health officials blame the surge of cases on low vaccination rates for this highly infectious disease.

More than 50 people have now been infected by the measles in an outbreak across southwest Washington state and northwest Oregon, and doctors and nurses say it's spurring people to get vaccinated.

At Sea Mar Community Health Center in Vancouver, Wash., administrator Shawn Brannan says that so many have been coming in for a measles shot recently that they had to order almost 10 times as much vaccine as usual.

"Larger populations that typically don't vaccinate their children for their own reasons are now in a mad dash, if you will, to get vaccinated," says Brannan.

Health officials are urging parents to make sure their children are vaccinated against measles after three cases of the disease were reported in Pinellas County, among more than 100 cases throughout the U.S. this year.

Florida health officials are investigating a case of measles from a child they say was not vaccinated.

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