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Unvaccinated Kids Behind Largest U.S. Measles Outbreak in Years: Study
Date:10/20/2011

percent were unvaccinated or their vaccination status was unknown. Thirteen percent were under one year old -- too young for vaccination.

Throughout the United States, 68 of the patients have been hospitalized, 12 with pneumonia.

Most of these cases occurred among people who traveled overseas to Western Europe, Africa or Asia, where vaccination rates are lower, and the disease is an ongoing problem, the researchers note.

McLean said that the vaccination coverage in the United states remains relatively high, about 90 percent. "However, measles is very contagious and can spread quickly in communities where people aren't vaccinated," she said.

"The vaccine is very safe and effective in preventing the disease," McLean said. The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles), is designed to be given to infants 12 to 15 months old with a second shot given when the child is four to six, according to the CDC.

The Minnesota Department of Health released figures on a state outbreak, which started in March with an unvaccinated child, aged two and a half , who had traveled to Kenya. The child attended a drop-in Minnesota child care center. Overall, 21 people were infected and 14 hospitalized.

"Health care providers together with public health and community leaders must address growing vaccine hesitancy to ensure high immunization rates in all communities," Pam Gahr, a senior health department epidemiologist, said in an IDSA news release.

Not only is measles highly contagious, it's also expensive to contain its spread, according a third meeting presentation.

Dr. Karyn Leniek, deputy state epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health, said an outbreak occurred when one unvaccinated high school student, who had been to Europe, brought measles back with him.

Although only nine people became infected, the cost of containing the outbreak was about $300,000. Costs included infection con
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