Let’s face it, most of us don’t remember the 1950’s when cases of measles still ran rampant. You know why we don’t remember? Because we all got a little vaccine that ultimately led to a total disappearance of the entire outbreak. It became a distant memory. What people are failing to realize is the thing about vaccines are that they only can be effective when everyone gets them. So why are we suddenly seeing so many cases of kids with measles? …..it doesn’t take a physician or a healthcare professional to realize that it’s
The 411 of Measles.
Measles is highly contagious and spread through coughing and sneezing. It’s so extremely airborne, in fact, that if an infected person is in a room and leaves, then you enter the room hours later–you risk catching it (it can live for up to two hours on surfaces.) According to the CDC, the first symptoms are very similar to the flu; fever, cough, runny nose sore throat, and red eyes. These symptoms can linger for four days spreading the disease before it even into a rash that covers the entire body. Worse yet, reportedly, 3 out of 10 measles-inflicted people with catch other conditions like diarrhea, pneumonia, or ear infections.
Before the vaccination was introduced in the United States in 1963, about 549,000 people were infected and 500 people a year died from measles. Since then, the only times we ever saw spikes in the number of cases were attributed to unimmunized children.
Let’s look at the facts: only 37 people in the U.S. had measles in 2004. Ten years later, we saw 644 cases in 2014. However, most of these were due to origins in other countries. On a global scale, about 146,000 people die from measles and 20 million people catch it each year. That translates to about 17 measles-related deaths each hour! The reason for this? The disease spreads like wildfire in countries where people don’t receive vaccinations.
The Center for Disease Control says children should get their “two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella,) vaccine:
- the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and
- the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age”
Who Isn’t Required to get Vaccinated?
Of course, valid and documented health reasons are ground reasons for parents to be exempt from vaccinating their children. But, for some reason or another, California doesn’t require individuals who have “personal beliefs” against the vaccines to give their children the defense they need against measles. Not surprisingly, California is the place incubating the majority of these recent measles cases. In January, California saw nearly 100 cases of the illness which tops combined cases for the ENTIRE nation for every year between 2001 to 2011, according to a CNN report. Sadly enough, a lot of these cases can get traced back to Disneyland. Additionally, there have been at least 7 cases in Arizona already in 2015 which also is not surprising considering that 5% of that state’s kindergarteners did not receive it under their parents beliefs.
The National Conference of State Legislatures shows that almost every state besides Mississippi and West Virginia, allow vaccine exemption for religious reasons.
The “personal belief” that vaccines are chemicals that can lead to worse medical problems like autism stem from a proven-fraud. Unfortunately, the myth continues to live on. A lot of people still have this false notion that vaccines cause anything other than protection from measles.
What can physicians do?
Physicians and advance practice specialists should take special care to educating parents about the truth regarding vaccines. Locum tenen professionals who are assigned in places like California or Arizona where “personal beliefs” cause parents to not get their kids the needed shots, should especially try to promote the vaccine. Ultimately, whether or not to vaccinate your child should not even be a debate—-it’s the only ethical and scientifically proven defense against illness. And, although you’re not going to be able to convince everyone to get their kids vaccinated, it’s better to spread the word than spread the measles.