- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said this week a recent uptick in measles cases could put the U.S.’ 2000 declaration of eliminating the disease in jeopardy.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said the increased outbreaks create a “reasonable chance” the country’s World Health Organization elimination status will be axed.

“It certainly is incredibly frustrating and upsetting to the public health community that we may lose measles elimination status because we do have a safe and effective vaccine,” she told CNN.

For a country to lose its elimination status, the disease must be spreading for a year. Twelve new measles cases, mostly in New York, have come to light this week.

The largest measles outbreaks — in New York City and Rockland County, New York — found more than 900 reported cases between the two locations since August 2018, and with children returning to school in the coming month, the disease is likely to spread further.

Many outbreaks have occurred within Orthodox Jewish communities, where many have religious objections to vaccines.

Dr. William Schaffner, a CDC adviser and a Vanderbilt University infectious disease expert said losing this designation would be an “embarrassment.”

“Public health will be embarrassed. It will be like having a bad eye,” he said, adding he’s afraid losing that status will have drastic consequences worldwide.

“I’m concerned it will reduce the motivation of other ministers of health around the world in trying to eliminate measles in their own countries. Cause they’ll say: ‘Gee. if the U.S. couldn’t maintain it, why should we work so hard on this.’”

Doctors called on the CDC to be more aggressive against disinformation campaigns against vaccines.

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