The anti-vaccine activists' agenda could weigh on the US economy, with measles outbreaks forcing people to remain unemployed and seek medical help, said the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Monday. "If you get more infections and diseases that were preventable by a vaccine, these are totally avoidable burdens on the economy," Dr. Anthony Fauci to CNBC. "When people get sick, they lose their jobs, they lose their finances, [and] they have hospital costs."
There is no official data yet on how this year's measles outbreak ̵
However, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013 have shown that a hospitalized person with measles can estimate a hospital bill of $ 4,032 to $ 46,060. A University of North Carolina study also found that vaccine-preventable adult disease cost the economy almost $ 9 billion in 2015, with unvaccinated people accounting for 80% of that cost. The study was funded by Merck, a leading vaccine manufacturer.
On Friday, President Donald Trump, who had questioned the safety of vaccines in the past, urged people to take measles shots. Health officials in New York, where the current outbreak is worst, have declared public health emergencies and are fighting for people's vaccinations. The Food and Drug Administration also reaffirms to the public that vaccines are safe and effective.
The latest figures released by the CDC on Wednesday show 695 cases of measles in 22 states.
The calls from federal and state officials are coming in the face of increasing misinformation from anti-vaccine activists, a vocal fringe who reject vaccinations. They believe, contrary to scientific findings, that ingredients of the vaccine can damage the body.
Fauci, who helped develop a vaccine against AIDS, warned that measles are dangerous and capable of killing themselves. The disease killed on average 2 to 3 million people a year worldwide before vaccines became available, he said. "In the United States, there were about 2 million cases [of measles] and about 500 deaths per year."
"The misinformation that measles are not a serious disease is simply not true," Fauci added in an interview to "Squawk" Box.
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