Measles has been at the forefront of the news, from its rapid increase to countries forming new laws and varying opinions about the vaccine. Whether you’re looking on social media or a news site, measles is in the headlines.
Don’t expect that to change soon.
A recent study conducted by Italian scientists predicts that measles will significantly rise by 2050. Published in BMC Medicine, results showed a possible 50% rise in measles cases. Study authors Filippo Trentini, Ph. D and Piero Poletti, Ph. D concluded that some high-income countries, such as South Korea and Singapore, have already met “elimination threshold.”
What is the “Elimination Threshold?”
The study that acknowledges that not all citizens of any one nation will be vaccinated. To factor this in, the researchers came up with this percentage of unvaccinated people per country while still eradicating measles worldwide.
Other countries remain at risk, including Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, and the United States. You’ll notice that these are high-income countries as well. So why are they at such a risk of the continuing measles outbreaks?
The paper suggests a few steps to avoid further measles danger.
Changes to current vaccination laws appears to be the first step. New vaccine programs could also decrease measles risk in these countries. New programs could also focus at schools, enforcing vaccination of children before admittance into a preschool.
Although, Poletti advised that this action, “may not be necessary to reach the elimination threshold.”
Could New Vaccination Laws Change These Results?
Poletti elaborated on the idea for some high-income countries. Poletti mentioned that vaccinating in elementary school could keep countries at immunity levels.
With these results, researchers are now encouraging changes from lawmakers all over the world. They are particular focused on new, strict legislation for those high-income countries. Better rules and when and how to administer the measles vaccine can prevent future outbreaks.
The article from Inverse also suggests changes to the vaccine programs already in use. Scientists are recommending a mandatory vaccine for elementary school children in countries with high school enrollment.
A couple of professors are wary about implementing such a law because they fear it could have adverse effects.
University of Bristol professor Adam Finn is one to point out potential dangers in this law.
According to the BBC, Finn stated that obligatory vaccines would improve coverage, but might not solve all these issues. Some of the countries struggling with measles cases do not struggle with access to vaccines. A mandatory vaccine might not solve issues with vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. Lack of trust from the public in a new vaccine law might only create more distrust.
Until any new laws or rules are put in place for the measles vaccine, we appear to still be on track for that spike by 2050. Both locals and potential travelers will have to keep track of the measles dangers in the coming years.
Written for Passport Health by Sabrina Cortes. Sabrina is a freelance writer with a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgian Court University. She currently lives in the Smokey Mountains of western North Carolina.