2012 Olympics May Spark Measles Outbreak

by InvestorPlace Staff | March 21, 2012 9:10 am

The last thing an attentive world currently expects from London’s upcoming Summer Olympics is a pending health crisis.

However, The Telegraph reports that America’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention just issued a stony warning[1] that athletes returning from overseas could bring a measles epidemic to U.S. soil. As Rebecca Martin — director of the CDC’s Global Immunization Division — summarizes, “Disease knows no borders… we are concerned about Americans coming back from the Olympics this summer and unknowingly infecting others.”

While premonitions of a cross-Atlantic outbreak may sound hysterical, there are public health criteria validating suspicions of a dormant epidemic. Apparently 26,000 cases of measles were documented across Europe last year, over 1,000 of which occurred in the U.K.

America’s rate of vaccination differs from that maintained in Europe, and the American public health system uses different parameters to contain the virus. Routine vaccination rendered measles near nonexistent in the U.S. by the 1990s, and quack allegations that vaccines somehow induce autism has lowered America’s immunization rate even further.

American health authorities currently report south of 50 measles infections per year — a minute fraction compared to the near 5,000 fatal cases of measles tallied annually prior to mass vaccination. Since a single case of measles costs an estimated $160,00 to treat in the United States, an unexpected outbreak would quickly sap America’s health care resources.

– Adam Patterson, InvestorPlace Assistant Editor

Endnotes:
  1. just issued a stony warning: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9156762/London-2012-Olympics-may-spark-measle-outbreak-US-warns.html

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