Measles was eliminated from the United States in 2000 – with elimination defined as “the absence of continuous disease transmission for 12 months or more in a specific geographic area”. But in 2014 things began to unravel when the US experienced its largest number of measles cases ever, and later at the beginning of 2015 when a measles outbreak began in Disneyland and subsequently spread to multiple states. The primary cause of the California measles outbreak was parents who chose not to vaccinate their children because of unwarranted fears that vaccines were linked to autism, despite the fact that such connections have been disproven in the scientific literature. As both a parent of a child who is severely disabled by autism and other mental disabilities and a vaccine researcher and head of a non-profit vaccine product development partnership, I like to also point out the absence of any scientific plausibility for connecting autism to vaccines (Thoughts on World Autism Awareness Day).
I am troubled – the world looks to the United States as a trend setter in many different fields ranging from cinema to the sciences. Vaccine hesitancy is a trend that should never be imitated.
– Peter Hotez, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Developmentannouncing the launch of PLOS Currents Outbreaks collection on Vaccine Hesitancy