What the CDC and States Are Doing to Stop the Spread of Measles
With measles outbreaks continuing to rise as the summer travel season heats up, WSJ's Lorie Hirose takes a look at state vaccination laws and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doing to fight the disease. Photo Illustration: Laura Kammermann
Pushpinder Pal is one of tens of thousands of Indian farmers camped along nine miles (15km) of major roads outside Delhi, protesting about agricultural laws they claim will devastate their earnings. Based in Haryana, he collects food every day from his local gurdwara, a Sikhs' place of assembly, delivering spinach curry to huge numbers of protesters. The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, promised to increase farmers' incomes, but they claim his new policies are designed to favour rich corporations and not them. In one of the largest protests in history, farmers are pledging to stay put while they wait for their representatives to strike a deal with government After his Thanksgiving conference call with members of the military, President Trump confirmed he plans to travel to Georgia to help incumbent Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue win reelection. President-elect Biden also plans to visit the Peach State to support Democratic challengers Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Georgia Public Broadcasting Reporter Stephen Fowler breaks down the impact these visits could have on the runoff races and gives us the latest in Georgia politics. Dubai is growing as a metropolitan hub and the infrastructure and public transport network has had to expand. The future shared mobility is being trialled in the city, as well as green solutions for residents. Kendrick Perkins and Zach Lowe discuss which teams will be pose the biggest challenge for the Los Angeles Lakers as they look to win their second championship title.
- This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak. - Measles in the U.S. just hit the highest number of cases in more than 25 years. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even more alarming, the agency says, if measles is not contained, the U.S. will hit a major public health turning point. - [Thomas] It takes a full year sustained transmission within the U.S. to lose elimination status, and right now, we're about, well, three or four months away from that. - Measles is really scary because it is so contagious. If a person with measles is in a room with 10 other people who are unvaccinated, nine of them will get measles. - Since September 2018, there have been measles outbreaks in more than two dozen states. The CDC defines an outbreak as three or more cases. New York City and Rockland County, New York have the biggest and longest running outbreaks since the measles was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. Doctors at the CDC say these cases have been spreading among unvaccinated children in ultra-orthodox Jewish communities. To prevent measles from spreading, the CDC says almost all, 95% of the population, needs to be vaccinated. Laws in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. require public school students have an MMR, measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. All of the states and D.C. allow exemptions for medical reasons such as allergies or for people who are immuno compromised because the are being treated for cancer. All but five have religious exemptions. 16 states have philosophical exemptions for families who don't believe in vaccines. In the wake of the latest measles outbreaks, some 10 states have considered eliminating or making it harder to get exemptions. So far in 2019, Washington state removed its personal belief exemption, Maine took away philosophical and religious exemptions, and New York removed religious exemptions. - [Thomas] We do know that the easier it is to get an exemption, the more people have exemptions, so tightening that up can help with improving coverage. - Doctor Clark says, right now, most cases in the U.S. can be linked back to someone who wasn't vaccinated who traveled abroad and brought the measles home. The World Health Organization reports measles outbreaks in Israel, the Philippines, and Ukraine. The CDC keeps a Do Not Board List. The Transportation Security Administration can stop airline passengers from boarding a commercial flight. - [Thomas] You can prevent somebody who either has measles or is highly likely to develop measles because they've had an exposure from traveling if they plan to travel when they're potentially infectious. It's kind of a tool of last resort, but it does allow Health Departments to be able to say, look, we can do this and we really encourage you not to travel and not to put other people at risk. - So far, at least eight people in five states have been flagged for the Do Not Board List. When contacted, those passengers agreed not to fly. Still, CDC officials are concerned that number could climb. (pensive mallet percussion music)