Inadequate vaccination leads to imported contagion

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Though measles was officially declared “eradicated” in the United States in 2000, a number of cases are still imported from people visiting countries that cannot or do not vaccinate against the disease. The CDC reports that in the first few months of 2011 alone, seven cases of measles have been imported by U.S. infant travelers aged 6 and 23 months. From 2001 to 2010, that number was 47. None of the most recently infected infant travelers were vaccinated with the MMR (measle-mumps-rubella) vaccine, despite their eligibility to receive the immunization prior to traveling, while only three of the 47 children infected abroad prior to 2011 were vaccinated.

ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom argues that these cases should serve as a warning to parents who decide against vaccinating their children under the false belief that just because we live in the U.S., we are automatically safe. “We’re still going to see infectious diseases popping up from international travel to and from places where vaccination is not legally mandated, so you can’t assume the disease will never infect your child, even here. Additionally, anyone intending to travel should make sure their vaccinations — and their children’s — are up-to-date.”