BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A recent study discovered that more than a half of Americans travelers chose not to receive a measles vaccine before going abroad. Researchers suggest that this happens due to an increased lack of concern regarding the disease, which might lead to a dangerous outcome when they return to the United States.
A measles vaccine for travelers keeps the disease away from the country
Measles disappeared from the United States in 2000. Therefore, a possible case can only be caused by a traveler who brings the virus from abroad. More than 60 percent of measles cases are caused by U.S. travelers, and not foreign people who come to visit the country. This is why a pre-travel vaccine is important. If residents are not vulnerable to the virus, they cannot bring it back to the U.S.
Before traveling, people need to receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, which protects them against measles, rubella, and mumps. If they are not immune to the diseases, meaning that they did not have the disease, they do not have signs of antibodies in their blood, or were born after the time when measles was widespread, they need to get a MMR shot.
Most travelers refuse the vaccine
The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed around 40,800 adults who visited pre-travel clinics between 2009 and 2014. Researchers concentrated on those born after 1956, when measles was common in the U.S. Eighty-four percent of the travelers were immune to the disease, but mostly because they had previously received vaccines.
Then, there remained the patients who needed to receive a shot, but 53 percent of them did not get vaccinated. Most of them refused the vaccine, since they were either not concerned about the risk or could not afford the shot. The others did not get a vaccine because the clinician did not recommend it.
Researchers think doctors should advise all people to get the measles vaccine, and inform them on the risk they subject themselves to if they refuse vaccination.
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