Nine million US children have not been vaccinated for measles, raising concerns that there could be major outbreaks of the illness, researchers said at ID Week 2015.
Nearly one child in eight (9 million children) is at risk of getting measles due to gaps in vaccination rates in the US, researchers from Emory University reported at ID Week 2015 in San Diego, CA. The finding was based on data in a national study known as the National Immunization Survey-Teen.
The percentage of unvaccinated children is between 8% and 6%. That is the outer edge of a vaccination gap that could mean widespread measles outbreak, they said.
Children aged three or younger have the lowest vaccination rate with nearly 25% unvaccinated and nearly 5% of 17-year-olds in the Emory study had not received the vaccine, said lead author Robert Bednarczyk, PhD, of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory in Atlanta, GA.
The reasons for non-vaccination include children who have medical issues that mean they should not be vaccinated, children who are too young, and children whose parents refuse to have them vaccinated.
The study authors said measles can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, and sometimes be fatal.