August 22, 2008

Jump in U.S. Measles Cases Linked to Vaccine Fears

The Associated Press


Measles cases in the United States are at the highest level in more than a decade, with nearly half of those involving children whose parents rejected vaccination, health officials reported Thursday.

Doctors are troubled by the trend fueled by fears that vaccines may cause autism. The number of cases is small - 131 - but that's only for the first seven months of the year. There were 42 for all of last year.

"We're seeing a lot more spread," said Dr. Jane Seward, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "That is concerning ."

Pediatricians say they are having to spend more time convincing parents the shot is safe.

The CDC's review found that a number of cases involved home- schooled children not required to get the vaccines. Others can avoid vaccination by seeking exemptions, such as for religious reasons.

what is measles?

Measles, known for a red skin rash, is a potentially deadly, highly infectious virus that spreads through contact with a sneezing, coughing, infected person. It is no longer endemic to the United States, but every year, cases enter through foreign visitors or Americans returning from abroad.

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