Global Measles Outbreak Linked to Low Vaccination Rates

by | Nov 18, 2022 | Blog

Measles is a highly contagious virus that can cause serious complications, even death. It is preventable through vaccination, but measles rates are on the rise in many parts of the world due to low vaccine uptake.

This has led to a global measles outbreak, with cases reported in over 30 countries this year. Urgent action is needed to increase vaccination rates and halt the spread of this dangerous virus.

measle outbreak linked to low vaccination rates


What are measles and its symptoms?

Measles, also known as rubeola, is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that affects the respiratory system. The measles virus causes this disease. It is transmitted through direct contact with droplets or secretions of an infected person, such as through coughing or sneezing. 

Symptoms typically manifest about ten days after exposure. However, this can vary depending on various factors, such as age and the individual’s overall health. Initial symptoms of measles are usually mild and include fever, sore throat, and moderate to severe coughing. After several days, a characteristic rash will typically appear on the face and neck before gradually spreading across the entire body. In more severe cases, additional symptoms may develop, including diarrhea, cramps, loss of appetite, vision problems, and ear infections. 

Anyone who experiences these or other symptoms after potential exposure to measles should seek medical attention immediately to be correctly diagnosed and receive appropriate treatment. In addition to vaccination against measles, maintaining good overall health through nutrition, exercise, and plenty of sleep can help reduce your risk of contracting this disease.

With proper care and thoughtful prevention measures in place, individuals can significantly reduce their chances of acquiring this highly contagious illness at home and abroad.

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How has the outbreak been linked to low vaccination rates

The recent global measles outbreak has been linked to low vaccination rates in many parts of the world. In particular, countries that do not have comprehensive immunization systems and offer only limited access to vaccines have seen consistently high levels of measles cases. 

This is also thought to be due, in part, to a growing trend among many parents to refuse or delay vaccination for their children. There are many reasons that parents might turn away from vaccines, including unfounded fears about safety or a belief that immunity can be achieved naturally without medical intervention.

However, these attitudes are hurting public health, as they leave large segments of the population vulnerable to diseases like measles without an effective means to protect themselves. To stem the rise of these new epidemics and prevent future outbreaks, we must continue to promote vaccination practices and make access to vaccines available for everyone who needs them.

According to research, the immunization rate has a non-linear effect on the number of measles cases, meaning that as the immunization rate decreases, there is an exponential increase in the probability of a large outbreak caused by a single case importation.

In high-immunization settings, early interventions and home isolation strategies are effective in reducing transmission and preventing large outbreaks. However, in low-immunization settings (like post-COVID), these strategies are not enough to control the outbreak.

A larger compliance to interventions or prompt action in terms of isolation are not sufficient to counter the effects of the additional drop in vaccination rates. Therefore, it is important to identify causes of decline in vaccination rates (e.g., low income) so targeted interventions can be designed which dampen disproportional impact on more vulnerable populations.



The dangers of not being vaccinated against measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can have serious, even deadly, consequences. Unfortunately, due to low vaccination rates in some parts of the world, measles outbreaks are becoming more common. This puts many people at risk and highlights the dangers of not being properly vaccinated.

One significant danger of measles is its ability to spread quickly from person to person. The measles virus is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing. It can survive for several hours on surfaces or objects. This means that encountering an infected person – even one with no symptoms – can lead to infection. Furthermore, once someone has contracted measles, it takes around ten days to realize they are sick. During this time, they are often unaware that they are contagious, spreading the virus widely in their communities and putting others at risk.

Another significant risk associated with measles is its potential to cause complications like pneumonia and encephalitis (brain swelling). It is estimated that up to 20% of children who contract this severe virus will die. Additionally, rarer complications – like hearing loss or brain damage – can also occur. Thus it becomes clear why vaccinations against such a deadly disease must remain accessible worldwide if we want to protect people from long-term health consequences.

By raising awareness about the importance of immunization against measles and actively working on reducing anti-vaccine sentiment in our society, we may be able to stem the tide towards much-needed global eradication efforts and prevent needless deaths by this devastating disease.

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What can you do to protect yourself and your family from measles?

When it comes to protecting yourself and your family from measles, there are some different things you can do.

To start with, make sure everyone in your household is up to date on their vaccinations and keep an eye out for potential symptoms like a fever, runny nose, red eyes, and a dry cough. In addition, avoid any situations where you might have contact with someone who may be sick or contagious.

Finally, if you begin showing signs of measles, seek medical attention immediately to get the necessary treatment and help prevent the spread of this dangerous disease. Following these simple steps can help ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe from measles.

For more information on common childhood viral exanthems, their classical signs and symptoms, and what you can do visit our blog Viral Exanthems: The five most common childhood viral skin rashes.



How to get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so

If you have not yet been vaccinated against measles, there are several steps that you can take to get the vaccine right away. The first step is to talk to your doctor about your vaccination history and see if you qualify for the measles vaccine. Depending on certain risk factors or past medical conditions, it may be possible to get vaccinated without scheduling a traditional office visit.

In addition, some pharmacies offer vaccinations on-site, so be sure to check with local providers to find out about your options for getting the vaccine as soon as possible. Once you have done so, make sure to schedule follow-up appointments and stay up to date with the recommended vaccinations to protect yourself from this severe disease.

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  • Thakur, M., Zhou, R., Mohan, M., Marathe, A., Chen, J., Hoops, S., Machi, D., Lewis, B., & Vullikanti, A. (2022). COVID’s collateral damage: likelihood of measles resurgence in the United States. BMC Infectious Diseases, 22(1).


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