November 15, 2021 — Health officials are warning about a resurgence of measles after 22 million infants missed their routine immunizations last year.
Only 70% of children got their second dose of the measles vaccine, which is well below the 95% threshold necessary to protect communities from the spread of the measles virus, experts warned.
“Large numbers of unvaccinated children, outbreaks of measles, and disease detection and diagnostics diverted to support COVID-19 responses are factors that increase the likelihood of measles-related deaths and serious complications in children,” said Kevin Cain, MD, CDC’s Global Immunization Director.
Measles spreads through coughing and sneezing and it is one of the most contagious human viruses in the world. The virus can live for up to 2 hours in the air after an infected person leaves an area. The symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. The measles rash appears 3 to 5 days after the first symptoms.
The risk of complications is especially serious for children under 5 years old and other high-risk populations. The most common causes of death are complications like pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain).