New Hampshire Health Officials Recommend Vaccination As Measles Cases Rise Worldwide


PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire —
Measles cases are increasing globally, and healthcare providers in New Hampshire are concerned that the state’s vaccination rates are below normal.

Globally, the largest measles outbreak is located in the United Kingdom, which had 42,000 cases between 2022-2023.

The situation in the United States has been less catastrophic, with only 58 cases documented this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, this ties the total number of instances reported last year.

“Measles is exceptionally contagious,” said Martha Wassell, infection control manager at Wentworth Douglass Hospital.

Health care providers and public health officials are alerting the public about the disease’s risks. What begins as a runny nose and cough progresses to a rash all over the body, and it can sometimes progress to more serious and fatal symptoms in people who are not protected.

“Measles is one of the most contagious and infectious diseases that we must regularly deal with,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiology. “Yet at the same time, we have a vaccine that prevents measles.” “That is one of the most effective vaccines.”

It is expected that more than 99% of those who receive the measles vaccine will be protected. It is typically administered during youth, and two doses can offer lifelong immunity.

However, measles vaccination rates have declined in recent years.

According to the most recent annual data from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, kindergarteners in the state had a vaccination rate of less than 89%, which is lower than the recommended 95%.

The CDC declared measles eradicated in the United States in 2000, but as vaccination rates dropped, cases returned.

“What we were doing was fully vaccinating our young children before kindergarten,” Wassell went on to say. “At this stage, we are missing out on vaccinating a large number of tiny children for various reasons. We need to get back into it and vaccinate our children.”

Providers stated that it is ultimately up to parents to decide whether or not to vaccinate their children. There hasn’t been a measles case in New Hampshire since 2011, but physicians say that doesn’t mean people should relax their guard. The disease can be dangerous for those who have not been vaccinated, and with numbers increasing around the world, there is no guarantee that New Hampshire will not be affected.

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