There is an escalating trend in the country whereby people are opting out of immunization against infectious diseases. The avoidance of vaccination has now become one of the serious concerns for health experts. They say that there are serious consequences when too many people in a population choose to forgo vaccinations.

Herd immunity

The risk of infectious diseases is reduced when large segments of the population are vaccinated. That is what is called herd immunity, and it extends protection even to the people who may have skipped vaccination. However, when so many people forgo immunization, the threat of infectious diseases grows even to the people that may have had previous protection.

The problem that health experts have highlighted in the wake of measles outbreak in the country is that so many people are skipping vaccination for the disease. Reasons for resisting vaccination among Americans vary from religious concerns to personal beliefs.

The recommended measles vaccination rate in any population is 92%-94%. However, the magic herd protection number has been compromised in the recent times in many parts of the U.S.

That is also why health experts sound the alarm amid the current outbreak that has seen the disease spreading to 13 states since December.

According to the CDC, several parts of the country fell short of the recommended measles vaccination rates. The agency disclosed that besides Washington, D.C., seven other states recorded fewer than 90% of measles vaccination rate among kindergarteners. Measles vaccination rate last year was lowest in Colorado at 81.7%. The highest measles vaccination rate last year was recorded in Mississippi where 99.7% of kindergarteners were immunized.

Measles import

U.S. was declared free of measles in 2000, but fresh cases have been emerging in the recent times. Some 644 cases were reported last year. In the current outbreak, California has already confirmed at least 99 cases. However, most measles cases in the U.S. are imported. Usually someone travels from another country with the disease or U.S. citizens traveling abroad get exposed to the diseases and return home with the infection.

Measles is described as highly contiguous because it infects 90% of non-immunized people that come into contact with a measles case. That is another reason health experts are worried about growing anti-vaccination trend.

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