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Measles Increasing in U.S. While Many Choose To Stay Unvaccinated

Mountain Home Air Force Base

Two decades ago, measles were thought to have been eliminated as a disease in the U.S.

Not so fast, say health officials, as cases of the viral disease shot up this year, mostly in New York. But officials say an unsettling trend of people not getting vaccinated is at the center of measles' return.

Oneida County Public Health Nurse Rebecca Lohagen says there are a number of young people here who haven't been vaccinated...

"...We do have a state mandate for immunizations for schools. Any child or student that is admitted to school, child care center or nursery schools should have their immunizations within 30 days from starting. However, they can waive those immunizations due to health, religion or personal convictions, so we do see a large number of individuals who are unvaccinated...."

One report earlier this week indicated nearly 50,000 children in Wisconsin are unvaccinated. Lohagen says as more people stay unvaccinated, the chances of getting these types of diseases increases...

"..Due to 'herd immunity' which is the more people are vaccinated the more those who can't are protected...the increased likelihood (if no protection) of vaccine-preventable communicable diseases happening in the area..."

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reports from January 1 to August 29 this year , 1,234 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 31 states. This is an increase of 19 cases from the previous week. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992.

There are religious reasons, personal beliefs or philosophical reasons, safety concerns, and a desire for more information from healthcare providers as reasons to not get vaccinated.

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