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News Link • OLYMPICS London Summer 2012

Olympics could spark global measles outbreak

• David Ferguson via The Raw

A spike in international cases of measles and an increase in the number of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children has health officials worrying that the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London could produce thousands of new cases of the disease.

According to a editorial by Rahul K. Parikh, M.D., the wholesale mingling of hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world could provide a perfect launching pad for a measles epidemic worse than the already historic outbreak currently being faced by Europe and, by extension, the United States.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning to travelers to get their measles vaccination or booster shot before heading to London for the Games. While the disease was considered to have been effectively eradicated in the U.S. in 2000, meaning measles no longer occurs year round in this country, the CDC reports that “the disease is still brought into our country by people who get infected abroad. In 2011, 222 people in the United States were reported to have measles. U.S. residents and visitors got measles abroad and brought it to United States and spread it to others. This caused 17 measles outbreaks in various U.S. communities last year.”

The 2011 U.S. outbreak was the most severe that the country has seen since the mid-1990s, but in Europe, an astonishing 30,000 cases were reported in 2011. Ninety percent of the U.S. cases in 2011 came from people who caught the disease traveling abroad. Some, according to Parikh, were children too young to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR), but of the infected children old enough to be vaccinated, 3 out of 4 cases were in children whose parents refused to have them vaccinated.


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