UNAC/UHCP Treasurer Jettie Deden-Castillo, NP, released the following statement on the decline in measles deaths worldwide.
“As a nurse practitioner, I am an enormous proponent of preventative medicine, including vaccines. As such, I was delighted to hear that the number of annual worldwide deaths from measles have dropped below 100,000. Three decades ago, that number was over 2.5 million.
“Measles is an incredibly contagious condition that impacts wealthy countries like the United States far less than poor countries, where the disease kills up to 6% of malnourished children. But even in America, an unvaccinated pregnant women who catches the virus may have a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or pre-term delivery. And children who catch it can die, but also risk complications such as brain damage and lifelong hearing impairment or deafness.
“Measles outbreaks in refugee populations can kill 30% of the children infected. That number is heartbreaking.
“In California three years ago, an outbreak at Disneyland resulted in new state laws that require children be vaccinated to attend kindergarten. Today, our state vaccination rates are nearly 98%. This is key because a community needs 95% vaccination rate to prevent an outbreak.
“A full 50% of unvaccinated children worldwide live in just six countries. We must redouble our efforts to get these children vaccinated. Six children of every 100 lost to an entirely preventable virus is far, far too many. We shouldn’t rest until the virus is eradicated across the globe.”
United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents over 30,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.
Contact: Jeff Rogers, Communications Specialist
Jeff.Rogers@unacuhcp.org | 909-263-7230