In January 2008, an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy returned to San Diego
from Switzerland, where he had unknowingly become infected with measles.
He infected his unvaccinated older sister and younger brother with
measles. He then exposed classmates at his charter school, where 11
percent of the children were unvaccinated for measles. In the end, more
than 800 people were exposed to the virus, and 11 additional cases were
attributed to this measles exposure.
The study, “Measles Outbreak in a Highly Vaccinated Population, San Diego, 2008: Role of the Intentionally Undervaccinated,” published in the April issue of
Pediatrics (released online March 22), found that despite high community
vaccination coverage, measles outbreaks can and do occur in clusters of
children whose parents decline vaccination. This creates a major cost
for public health agencies who must engage in outbreak response
programs, and to families who must quarantine children to prevent
further spread of measles.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.