Adults Not Off the Hook on Measles Outbreak

As it turned out, the measles outbreak that had created an issue two months ago at the Disneyland appears to not only put children in danger but to all ages as well.

Surprisingly it had reached to 59 percent of confirmed measles illness in adults 20 years and up. Health officials are now working hard with how to effectively survey on vaccination levels of adults to keep the illness from spreading even more. Currently, health officials are concentrating on tracing immunizations of young children.

There is a great possibility for the illness to spread more quickly and adults are at a higher risk of getting it and passing it than children.  Adults are more exposed to the illness since they are more likely to travel and come in contact with people.

Adults entering college and workforce most likely are not fully immunized as a result of the lowering rate of childhood measles vaccination in California in the past dozen years.

“We’ve had this wake-up call with Disneyland,” said Dr. James Cherry, a UCLA professor and primary editor of the Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “Adults have been ignored for years.”

Institutions are now working on making sure that the necessary vaccinations should be taken. The University of California had declared that for the first time they are requiring a valid certification as evidence for the four immunizations including measles, in addition to their existing requirement of hepatitis B vaccine.

A nationwide chain of about 1,500 day care centers, KinderCare will be requiring measles vaccines on all the staff caring for babies younger than 15 months, and they will also require workers to present records of measles immunizations. There had already been eight infants at the KinderCare in Chicago who have been infected by the measles virus.

There had been debates focusing on having more children vaccinated, yet there are talks that adult should also be checked on whether they should be vaccinated as well.

“In the past, we’ve always assumed that everybody was immunized — teachers were immunized,” said Pamela Kahn, health and wellness coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education. “As of now, I think we’re pretty sure that most teachers do have immunity, but that is going to change in the next few years because of the trend in the last decade or two.”

Cherry said if there had not been that incident which caused fear on parents about immunization health risk , adults would have not been much hit by the illness.

Most adult only got one dose of the vaccine before the federal government began recommending two doses in 1989. Many are not informed that a second dose is much needed as well.



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