Orange County at high risk of measles outbreak

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 11, 2019

So far in 2019, Harris County has reported four cases of measles. Analysts ranked every county in the U.S.by its relative measles-outbreak risk - and, according to the data, Dade has the third-highest risk in the country.

"There has been a resurgence of measles cases, among other vaccine preventable diseases, in the US and other countries in recent years".

To compile the map, analysts counted nonmedical vaccine exemption rates per county and compared those to each county's rate of travel, population size, and proximity to other global measles outbreaks. "Measles, in particular, poses a serious public health threat due to the highly contagious nature of the disease".

The analysis appears in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The researchers who predicted the Zika outbreak are now saying Cook County could be home to the next big measles outbreak.

As of late April, the United States has seen more than 700 cases of measles this year, the highest number in decades. Although measles was officially eliminated from the U.S.in 2000, the ongoing outbreak shows that the nation remains at risk. The report blames the increasingly visible anti-vaccine movement for the uptick in measles cases nationally, although it doesn't go into detail on the level of vaccination in IL.

"Anti-vaxxers are denying the best and very successful medical science we have and choosing instead to rely on fraudulent claims, such as a purported link to autism, that have been uniformly debunked by evidence and analysis over the last two decades", wrote coauthor Sahotra Sarkar, professor of philosophy and integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin.

The authors should know: the report says they correctly predicted outbreaks in Oregon, Washington and NY, where Brooklyn, for example, has already seen 300 cases.

The report, published Thursday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, said that although Cook County has only reported one case of measles in 2019, the disease could become an issue here because of the presence of Chicago's two major worldwide airports.

"Our prediction is aligned with multiple counties that have experienced measles outbreaks this year". Many people flying into the city are coming from countries where children do not get vaccinated. "The New York borough of Brooklyn is a flawless example with a large number of unvaccinated members of an orthodox Jewish community even though the overall county vaccination rate is not low".

Additional authors are from the University of New South Wales Sydney and St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto.

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