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Measles Resurgence

September 30, 2013

Measles cases in the U.S. are on track to be the worst since 1996.



A big year for measles. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Jupiter Images)

As of August, measles cases in the United States are on pace to hit a 17-year high. Most of the patients hadn’t been vaccinated – usually for philosophical or religious reasons. University of Alabama at Birmingham pediatrics professor David Kimberlin works with the Centers for Disease Control on immunization issues. He notes that people who refuse the measles vaccine tend to cluster in communities, creating breeding grounds for the virus.

DAVID KIMBERLIN (University of Alabama at Birmingham):

It is a virus that is exceedingly good at finding weaknesses. And it will move through a community and identify those people who are not immunized. And they will get sick from it.

Victims may include infants who are too young for the vaccine and older people who never got it. Since measles can cause brain damage or death, Kimberlin says refusing the vaccine for yourself or your children can be a tragic mistake. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.