measles

Lisa Gillespie, WFPL for Side Effects Public Media

It’s a rainy spring evening in Louisville, less than two weeks from one of city’s biggest events: the Kentucky Derby. On May Fourth, people from across the U.S. and world stream into town to watch a day of horse racing.

Courtesy of Jessica Barnes

Measles is a potentially deadly illness that is spreading in many parts of the world. Thanks to vaccines, the disease was eliminated from the U.S. almost two decades ago.

But measles outbreaks have sprung up ever since.


California's state Senate has passed a bill to eliminate "personal belief exemptions" that currently allow parents to opt out of having their school-age children vaccinated.

SB 277, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, passed 25 to 10 and now advances to the Assembly.

Why Your Future Vaccination Might Not Be A Shot

May 4, 2015

Vaccines don't always make it into the people who need them the most. Many require a syringe and a needle to enter the bloodstream and create immunity. And that means a doctor or nurse has to do the job.

A decade ago in Nigeria, rumors spread that polio vaccines were surreptitious sterilization efforts. That led to a boycott of the vaccine in 2003 and a resurgence in the poliovirus three years later.

The story points up a key point about vaccines: Confidence is critical.

A new study of more than 20,000 people in five countries looks as why people aren't confident in vaccines. The reasons vary, from a belief the vaccine isn't safe to a bad experience with a previous vaccination.

And the results can be devastating.

Health officials in California have linked the measles outbreak at Disneyland to a type most commonly found in the Philippines, but they don’t yet know exactly how this particular strain of the virus got to Disneyland.

Unimmunized travelers returning from the Philippines have spread measles in California before. Yesterday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 141 cases of measles since Jan. 1, in two separate outbreaks. Last year, U.S. health officials reported the highest number of measles cases in two decades.

When Sara Martín's children were infants, she made sure they got all the recommended immunizations.

"And then somewhere when they became toddlers I started to fall a little behind on the vaccinations," she says. "Not intentionally — just, that's kind of how it happened for me."

Martín is 29 years old and a single mother of two. She says it was a huge chore to travel from her home in East Los Angeles to a community clinic downtown.

7 Things You Need To Know About Measles

Feb 10, 2015
illustration of child with measles
Sue Clark via Flickr creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

From December 28, 2014 to February, 121 cases of measles were reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease ControlSound Medicine spoke with a pediatrician and a public health expert to get the facts on the disease: its effects, how it’s spread, who is at risk, and the laws surrounding vaccinations at schools.

As debate mounts in the U.S. over whether or not to require measles vaccinations, global immunization rates show something interesting: Many poor countries have far higher vaccination rates than rich ones.

Health officials in Illinois are trying to find the source of a measles infection, after five babies were diagnosed with the contagious respiratory disease in a Chicago suburb. Saying that more cases are likely, a health official warns, "The cat is out of the bag."

Because the Illinois patients are all under a year old, they can't be vaccinated. The new cluster of cases joins more than 100 other reports of measles in 14 states this year; most of them have been traced to an outbreak at Disneyland in California in December.

Pages