Thursday, May 1, 2008

Measles stalks in Arizona

Hey guys,

In Pima, Arizona there is currently an outbreak of measles confirmed in 16 people, and potentially affecting many more. It's the largest outbreak seen in the US this year. This is an update that reinforces a lot of the concepts we're talking about. The trend we're seeing of measles outbreaks across the US is the end result of many factors promoting re-emergence. For instance, there's waning immunity from the early vaccines or incomplete dosing of vaccines that theoretically gave lifelong immunity. The article suggests that many people who believe they are immune may in fact be at risk, particularly if they were vaccinated in the 1960's. Secondly, in this case we see the ease of foreign travel leading to the introduction of new diseases (or those that had not been seen in a long time). The "patient zero" for this outbreak was a Swiss woman on vacation, who then came into contact with others at the hospital when she subsequently developed pneumonia. Now there are 4th and 5th generation cases. Lastly, it brings to mind a lot of discussions we've had about "eradication" and what it would really take. If the US, a country with enormous resources and a very strong public health system, can't shake this disease completely, how are countries like Sierra Leone going to accomplish this? Anyway, here's the Pro-Med link for the article.,F2400_P1001_PUB_MAIL_ID:1010,72385


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