Giving Compass’ Take:
• A recent analysis revealed 25 U.S. counties that will potentially experience measles outbreaks over the next year using data on air travel volume, non-medical childhood vaccinations, population data, and measles outbreak information.
• How can donors fund more research to address the measles outbreaks? What other data should we be gathering?
• Here are five facts about the measles outbreak.
A new analysis identifies the 25 United States counties most likely to experience measles outbreaks in 2019.
The analysis combined international air travel volume, non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccinations, population data, and reported measles outbreak information.
“There has been a resurgence of measles cases, among other vaccine preventable diseases, in the US and other countries in recent years. Measles, in particular, poses a serious public health threat due to the highly contagious nature of the disease. It is therefore critical that we proactively identify areas most likely to experience outbreaks to strategically target for surveillance and control,” says co-corresponding author Lauren Gardner, an associate professor of civil engineering at the Johns Hopkins University.
The recent spike in cases, the researchers say, is due to reintroduction by international travelers from countries experiencing measles outbreaks, compounded by low-vaccination rates in certain localities, which an increasingly visible anti-vaccination movement fuels.
“Anti-vaxxers are denying the best and very successful medical science we have and choosing instead to rely on fraudulent claims, such as a purported link to autism, that have been uniformly debunked by evidence and analysis over the last two decades,” says the study’s other corresponding author, Sahotra Sarkar, professor of philosophy and integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin.
To identify the top 25 US counties most likely to experience outbreaks in 2019, the research team performed a risk analysis that took the following data into account: non-medical exemption rates in each county, anonymous full-route passenger travel data from all international airports into each of the US counties, county population, and size and location of measles outbreaks globally.
The analysis correctly predicts the regions in Washington, Oregon, and New York that have already seen major measles outbreaks this year. Furthermore, the vast majority of counties that have reported measles cases as of April 2019 are included in team’s top 25 at-risk counties or lie adjacent to one of the top 25 counties.
Read the full article about measles outbreak map by Chanapa Tantibanchachai at Futurity.
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