In the United States, vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines. Every year, thousands of Americans still suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.
Measles in Minnesota
This year in Minnesota, 78 people came down with measles, but thousands were exposed, including hundreds who were not vaccinated or did not have natural immunity from a previous measles infection. The Health Department identified 8,880 people who were potentially exposed to known cases in day care centers, health care settings, schools and other community settings. Public health officials contacted many of them or checked their vaccination status using the state’s immunization registry. That work identified 596 at-risk people, and they were asked to voluntarily limit their activities to avoid exposing others.
Because measles no longer occurs naturally in the United States, officials believe this outbreak started with someone traveling from abroad. Measles is prevalent in many African countries, China and Europe, which has seen a resurgence in infections. However, the exact source has not been identified.
Here’s why you shouldn’t wait:
- Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in the U.S.
- Those that are not common here are still found in other parts of the world, and can still be a threat.
- Some of these diseases are very contagious.
- Any of these diseases could be serious – even for healthy people.
- Certain people may be at higher risk for getting some diseases or having more serious illness if they were to get sick, like young children, older adults, and those with health conditions.
Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical experts update vaccine recommendations based on the latest research and evidence-based science on vaccine safety, effectiveness, and patterns of vaccine-preventable diseases.
You have the power to protect yourself and the ones you love. Talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for you and your family.
To learn more about vaccines and take a quick quiz to find out which vaccines you may need, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults