Levin leads U.S. legislators requesting measles help from CDC

    This illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles. | Allison M. Maiuri, CDC

    U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) teamed up with 15 other members of Congress to request aid from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as measles outbreaks spread through the country.

    Andy Levin

    The request comes as Michigan has seen its biggest measles outbreak since 1991, with a total of 40 cases reported over the last month, including one case in Washtenaw County reported Friday as unrelated to the current outbreak. The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) also announced today that two of the most recently reported cases were found to be false.

    “This is a preventable disease that we have eradicated in the U.S. before,” Levin wrote in his statement, asking the CDC to provide “any support it can to local and state agencies that are already working hard to curb further outbreaks.”

    As the Advance reported earlier this week, Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties all ranked in the top 15 areas nationwide for their number of non-medical vaccine exemptions, according to a recent study. Almost every documented case this year has been in Oakland County, with one apiece in Wayne and Washtenaw counties.

    This photograph depicts the back of a boy with measles, which was captured on the third day of its characteristic rash. | CDC, 1963

    Michigan is one of fewer than 20 states across the country that allows parents to decline vaccines for non-medical reasons.

    The letter from Congress, which was also signed by U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), poses a series of questions to the CDC in addition to its plea for assistance, seeking information about measures already taken by the Center in response to recent outbreaks and what it’s done to discourage vaccine skepticism.

    Bridge reported this week about an anti-vaccine lobbying group that spent more than $10,000 in 2018 campaign contributions. Michigan lawmakers, including current House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), have sponsored legislation as recently as 2017 that would make it easier for parents to receive non-medical vaccine waivers.

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson covers local government, education, health care and the social safety net, and LGBTQ issues. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington, and before that covered local politics in Chicago. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He enjoys film, the Detroit Pistons and his cat. He once competed in the National Spelling Bee, but was eliminated before any potential ESPN appearances.

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