Stopping the spread of measles

Craig M. Groshek [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Despite the availability of a potent vaccine, outbreaks of measles continue to occur around the world. Two major factors contribute to this prevalence. First, the measles virus is highly transmissible and may be spread through the air in droplets produced by breathing, sneezing and coughing. Within 2 weeks of exposure to the virus, about 90% of unvaccinated individuals will develop infection. Second, vaccine coverage is incomplete because some people lack access while others decline vaccination. Once a person is infected with the virus, there is no effective treatment. For these reasons, the measles virus poses a concerning risk to public health. But epidemiologists working to eradicate the measles may now have a new tool at their fingertips. Researchers at Georgia State University and Emory University (both in Atlanta, GA), along with international collaborators, developed an antiviral drug that effectively protected ferrets from infection with canine distemper virus (CDV), a morbillivirus closely related to measles.

Lab Anim. (NY) 43, 179 (2014).
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