Lawmakers discuss how to tackle rise in Measles cases in the US

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Lawmakers are discussing how to tackle the rise in Measles across the US.

There have been close to 160 confirmed cases in 10 states, often in communities where parents hesitate to vaccinate their children.

And one expert told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce avoiding the vaccination is a problem.

“Vaccine hesitancy is the result of a misunderstanding of the risk and seriousness of disease, combined with misinformation regarding the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. However, the specific issues fueling hesitancy varies by community. Because vaccine hesitancy remains a highly localized issue, the strategy to address these issues need to be local with support from CDC. Strong immunization programs at the state and local levels are critical to understanding the specific issues and empowering local action.”

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness that was declared eliminated in the US 19 years ago because of vaccination programs.

But the number of unvaccinated children is growing.

And some anti-vaccination groups have been spreading debunked information on social media.

Lawmakers were on Capitol Hill discussing what has been called “a growing public health threat” – an outbreak of more than 100 cases of Measles across 10 states.

Representatives talked to experts who focused on the need for vaccinations as the primary prevention tool.

In the first two months of 2019, more than 159 cases of Measles have been confirmed in the US.

Doctors from the CDC and National Institutes of Health say despite the eradication of the virus in the US, Measles continues to circulate globally, posing a threat to unvaccinated children.

“We shouldn’t be criticizing people who get this information that is false because they may not know its false. We need to try to continue to educate them to show them what the true evidence base is.”

Doctors say anyone who has concerns about a particular vaccine or the recommended vaccine schedule should discuss those with their child’s pediatrician.

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This story was originally published on February 27, 2019

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