The Real Crazy Train: Measles

Yet another large measles exposure occurred in this country as the result of an unvaccinated individual contracting the illness while in Asia. 

The patient, who is a college student in California, rode a public transportation train and potentially exposed thousands of individuals to the virus, which can be deadly in select cases.

This incident has several aspects that worth highlighting:

  • Though measles has been nearly eradicated from the US that is not the case in the rest of the world
  • Unvaccinated individuals, who may have a relatively low (but not zero) risk of contracting the disease in the US, are at a high risk of infection when traveling to areas in which measles is still present and human populations are not immunized to a high degree, i.e. herd immunity has not been achieved
  • Measles is extremely contagious and if exposed individuals were not adequately vaccinated, for personal reasons or because they are less than 1 year of age, they may contract measles

The bottom line: Measles is too contagious of a disease for the human population to become lax about.