The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.
– The majority of the people who got measles were unvaccinated.
– Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
– Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S.
– Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated.
Mary Pat and I have had our children vaccinated and we think that it’s an important part of being sure we protect their health and the public health. I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide. –New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
The Governor tweeted a followup, that isn’t much better.
And the fact is that, a major success of our civilization has the ability to prevent diseases that in the past have devastated folks. And measles is preventable. And I understand that there are families that, in some cases, are concerned about the effect of vaccinations. The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.
You should get your kids vaccinated. It’s good for them and the challenge you have is if you have a certain group of kids who don’t get vaccinated, and if it grows large enough that a percentage of the population doesn’t get vaccinated and they’re the folks who can’t get vaccinated, small infants, for example, or people with certain vulnerabilities that can’t vaccinated, they suddenly become much more vulnerable.
From a public health standpoint, this data argues for continuing to push to increase vaccination rates and stem any declines. A 95 percent vaccination rate in a state doesn’t mean every place in the state is at 95 percent. At rates even a bit lower, we start to see increases in whooping cough and measles cases. And remember that parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids are also putting other people’s kids at risk: Many of the victims of whooping cough are babies who are too young to be vaccinated.
The CDC posts that the measles outbreak in Ohio and other parts of the country is continuing. The new report also shows that this outbreak constitutes the highest number of measles cases in the US since the 1990’s, with it likely continuing to increase. It is still somewhat unclear if this increase is due to lack of vaccinations, or a large measles outbreak in the Philippines. However, I am gonna make an educated guess that lack of vaccinations is a major player in the outbreak, given that certain communities that tend to be anti-vaccination are the center of the outbreak (cough cough, Amish in Ohio).
“In the United States, the number of people who choose not to be immunized for religious, philosophical or personal reasons has begun to become a public health problem, Schuchat said. Others are unaware of, or unable to get, vaccinations before they arrive in the United States. A small number of adults can lose their immunity over time and may need to be re-vaccinated.”
“Some, Nolt said, have a “more traditional, conservative, old-fashioned way of life and set of sensibilities that views medicine as something that is used to heal or cure, rather than to prevent” disease. Others have a “theologically informed…sense that we should place our trust in God and not in vaccines.””
Washington Post article here. CDC press release here.
There is a reason that the first nobel prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to the discoverer of a vaccine against diphtheria. We vaccinate against diseases that are life-threatening, highly infectious, and generally are a threat to society. Recent outbreaks of preventable diseases (ie. measles) due to people not vaccinating is a huge insult to the many scientists who toiled to discover what causes these diseases, and how to prevent them. Imagine what the people who died or had loved ones die of these diseases would say to people who fail to vaccinate against them.
“Measles is a highly contagious disease that causes fever, runny nose, reduced appetite and rash. It can cause severe illness and death in some people, and is easily preventable through vaccination.”