The continuing growth of measles cases in the United States has led some states to consider enforced vaccinations.The US Centres for Disease and Control (CDC), which began tracking the outbreak on January 1, said the measles outbreak had now spread to 17 states and Washington DC.
It said the vast majority of the 121 confirmed cases were part of the large outbreak that began at California’s Disneyland amusement park in December.The latest figures put the US on track to surpass the 644 cases it experienced last year.
What is measles?
Highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus
Spreads through the air via coughing and sneezing
Symptoms include fever, tiredness, cough, runny nose and sore eyes, followed by a rash
It can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and death
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
The outbreak has spurred politicians in California, Oregon and Washington state to consider laws to make it harder for parents legally to opt out of vaccinating school-aged children.
Bills in several other states, including New York, Mississippi and West Virginia, would loosen restrictions.
US congressional leaders and several possible 2016 presidential hopefuls addressed the issue last week, joining a renewed debate over parents’ right to forgo inoculation of their children amid fears about potential side-effects.
The University of California has told students at its 10 campuses they will be required to be immunised for measles, mumps, rubella and other diseases under policy set to take effect in 2017.
Measles, a highly contagious disease that can lead to pneumonia or brain swelling, was declared eliminated in the US in 2000.
Source: Radio Australia (ABC)