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Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Bowl In Arizona Risk for Measles Spread


The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is monitoring as many as 1,000 people it believes may have been exposed to the virus. The state had 7 confirmed cases as of Thursday morning. Given the highly contagious nature of measles, the number of cases could sky-rocket just as international media attention descends upon Glendale and the much-anticipated football game. - See more at:
As thousands of people are arriving in Phoenix for the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is monitoring as many as 1,000 people believed to have been exposed to the measles virus. The state has seven confirmed cases.

Children in the Phoenix area who have not received the mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccine or who believe they have been exposed to measles are requested to remain at home for 21 days.

Measles is highly contagious. And as the country and media descends upon Phoenix for the Super Bowl this Sunday, nation-wide dissemination of the virus is a concern.

Measles killed 400-500 children every year (infected 3-4 million annually) in the US prior to the introduction of the vaccine in 1963. As the graph above demonstrates, the vaccine is highly effective and measles was thought eradicated by the year 2000.

So why the resurgence of measles?

In many way the success of vaccination programs has lead to apathy and undue skepticism of the necessity of the vaccination. A byproduct of successful vaccination is that new parents may never have seen a case of measles or have known someone with it. In their perception the disease is no longer "real"--a unicorn effect of sorts. Parents begin to question the value of vaccinating their children which leads to under vaccination and loss of population heard immunity to disease. Loss of heard immunity, by a small percentage not vaccinating, jeopardizes the many.

Victims of our own success.

By Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD, CPE

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