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July 2010, Volume 40 Number 7 , p 67 - 67



CAUSED BY A PARAMYXOVIRUS, measles is a highly contagious acute viral infection most often spread via respiratory droplets. Infection occurs more often during late winter and spring. Measles was once a common childhood illness until the measles vaccine was licensed for use in 1963. The infection is rare in the United States, but undervaccination has led to outbreaks in recent years. In 2008, 140 measles cases were reported in San Diego, the largest number since 1996. All of the children who contracted the illness were intentionally not vaccinated for measles. Rising undervaccination rates, caused by parents who believe the vaccines are harmful, can lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.1 Outbreaks can also occur among adults, such as on college campuses.Measles is still a common and often fatal infection in developing countries, with an estimated 10 million cases reported annually, most of them from Africa.2 Travelers and immigrants from developing countries

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