Measles

Back in mid-December, three children were hospitalized with measles after passing through the Denver airport and the emergency department of Children’s Hospital Colorado. The concern was that others might have picked up the disease at those locations. 

Three children are being treated at a Denver-area hospital for measles, adding to the more than 1,200 cases of the disease reported this year nationwide. Some Mountain West states have already seen measles cases this year, including Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada.

Measles is very contagious, so when a case is identified, it kicks local health officials into high gear, rapidly searching for anyone the patients may have come into contact with. 

This post was updated at 8:30 p.m. with additional information.

About 60 people gathered at the Colorado Capitol Monday for the third and final day of a summit on vaccination. It featured a series of presentations full of reasons why people should not get their children immunized.

Michele Ames says that's a problem.

"The world consensus is that vaccines are safe and effective and they save lives. Period," said Ames, a spokesperson for Colorado Vaccinates, a coalition of groups including Children's Hospital Colorado and the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics aimed at increasing vaccination rates in the state.

After decades of progress against one of the most contagious human viruses, the world is seeing measles stage a slow, steady comeback.

The World Health Organization and the CDC say in a new report that there were nearly 10 million cases of measles last year, with outbreaks on every continent.

An estimated 140,000 people died from measles in 2018, WHO says, up from an all-time low of 90,000 in 2016.

And so far 2019 has been even worse.

Researchers writing in the journal Science found that when kids get measles, it can cause “amnesia” in the immune system. 

In much of the Mountain West, measles vaccination rates are below the recommended 95% level.

Large and small cities in Texas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to measles outbreaks as more parents exempt their children from required vaccinations, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Texas Vaccine Exemption Rates Have Reached An All-Time High. Did Texas Make It Too Easy?

Jun 13, 2019

As measles cases hit a 25-year high in the United States, Texas medical experts fear the state could see the next outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease. Texas has reported 15 confirmed cases of measles so far in 2019, six more than in all of 2018.

Measles and mumps have shown up in Texas, and both are preventable if children get the MMR vaccine. But some doctors are concerned that people may be not be aware of the third illness included in the MMR vaccine acronym. The R stands for rubella, also known as German measles.

Public Domain via MaxPixel

Oklahoma has confirmed its first measles case of the year.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, the Oklahoma State Department of Health confirmed last week that a case of measles has been discovered in Okmulgee County. This is the first confirmed case since May 2018. The measles patient has returned to Oklahoma after traveling domestically and internationally.

This story was updated May 3, 2019 at 3:40 p.m.

Measles cases have reached a 19-year high in the U.S., but a bill in Colorado aimed at improving childhood vaccination rates didn’t succeed. It didn’t really fail, either. It just got mired in super-long hearings, pushback from the governor and, ultimately, a legislative schedule that ran out of time before the bill could reach the Senate.

“I’m still today trying to figure out exactly what happened,” says Rep. Kyle Mullica, who sponsored the bill.

Measles is on the rise again, all around the globe.

Though the number of people affected in the U.S. is still relatively low compared with the countries hardest hit, there are a record number of U.S. measles cases — more than 700, so far, in 2019, according to the CDC — the highest since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. back in 2000.

Updated at 1:55 p.m., Feb. 26, 2019:

As a measles outbreak continues in Washington state, a congressional hearing Wednesday will discuss the preventable disease, now considered to be a “growing public health threat.”

Several states are considering legislation to encourage higher rates of childhood vaccines. The response in our region is mixed.

Eight measles cases have now been identified in Johnson County, with another two in Linn and Miami counties, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Health departments in the three counties have pinpointed where and when the individuals were infected. Because people can acquire measles anywhere from a week to three weeks after exposure, KDHE said there are concerns that additional cases may be identified.

The agency is urging people who are ill or exhibiting symptoms to remain at home unless they’re seeking medical care.