CDC reports biggest increase in pediatric measles in 12 years

8/22/2008

ATLANTA Cases of a potentially fatal childhood disease have experienced the biggest increase in 12 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A number of parents have opted against vaccinating their children against measles, often based on a false belief that the vaccine could cause autism. The CDC said about half of the cases this year have involved children whose parents refuse to vaccinate.

In the first seven months of this year, 131 cases have been diagnosed. By contrast, last year had a total of 42 cases.

Many of the cases are in children whose parents reject vaccinations on religious grounds and home-schooled children, who are not required to get the vaccination, as public school children are.

Symptoms of measles include rash, cough, high fever and runny nose. It can also lead to pneumonia and encephalitis.

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