Ellis County Measles Outbreak Shows Why Vaccination Is Crucial

For those of us in the medical community who provide care for children, the latest news from Ellis county reminds us that complacency and turning away from basic public health principles like vaccinations will always result in a resurgence of communicable infectious diseases. We have been down the road of outbreaks of preventable disease before, and unfortunately, we are traversing it again.On Tuesday Ellis County health officials confirmed six cases of measles contracted by people who have not been vaccinated. Those involved in the outbreak have connections to Waxahachie and Midlothian.Measles is probably the most exquisitely contagious vaccine-preventable disease out there. Unlike most of the other respiratory illnesses that we are currently seeing this winter (like flu,) which are primarily spread through coughing and sneezing out respiratory droplets, measles is a truly airborne contagion. The measles virus particles literally float through the air; it can remain in a given airspace for up to 30 minutes after a measles-infected person has occupied that space. And, if you are not immune to measles from being vaccinated and you are exposed to the virus, you have a 90 percent chance of contracting the disease. From those cases, serious complications can arise that are quite deadly such as measles pneumonia and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.  Continue reading...

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