DENVER (CBS4) - Lawmakers including Colorado Congresswoman Diana Degette are asking the Committee on Energy and Commerce to hold a hearing on the measles outbreak and the importance of vaccinations.
The letter points out important facts regarding the recent spread in measles, which began at Disneyland in December 2014.
Although the outbreak is centered in California, "There are also several confirmed cases in Arizona, and state public health officials have warned that the outbreak has reached 'a critical point.'"
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. The letter sites some compelling statistics, stating, "It is estimated that 90% of people exposed to the disease will be infected unless they have been vaccinated. Since the introduction of the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, there has been a 99% reduction in the number of measles cases."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared measles eradicated in the United States in 2000. This was due to a highly effective vaccination program, determined public health officials.
However, the letter states that "in 2008, the U.S. experienced several outbreaks in communities with groups of unvaccinated people."
And now, "2014 saw a record number of measles cases, with 644 cases in 27 states, the highest number in the United States since 2000."
This group of lawmakers, as well as public health officials, is emphasizing the importance and effectiveness of vaccination. In fact, "For the 42 patients for whom vaccination status is known, 34 were unvaccinated and three received partial vaccinations."
They hope to schedule a hearing with the committee to prevent the spread of measles.
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