Measles Outbreak!

Hot on the heels of the recent and deadly Ebola epidemic has arisen a new dangerous Measles Outbreak. The big questions are, how did this happen? And what can we do to protect our households?

Since 2000, an aggressive and encompassing vaccination program in the US has thankfully kept measles from building any momentum – however, vacationers from other countries (as well as US citizens who travelled to other countries), caught the virus overseas (where measles is still a factor), and unknowingly brought it back home to the US – where it infected the unvaccinated. CBS news has also reported that in Ohio, Amish travelers, recently back from the Philippines, also brought back measles – which infected hundreds. The recent and well-documented  Disneyland outbreak (as confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention), which occurred last December, attests to this, as where do most vacationers want to go? That’s right, Disneyland. I’m surprised that Disneyworld in Florida has not had similar occurrences. And I thought the corndogs at Disneyland could kill just about anything – well, perhaps ALMOST anything would be more accurate.

CNN has had a most fascinating read on this subject, outlining just how contagious measles can be. Although measles is preventable through vaccinations,  since the Disneyland incident, many parents who refuse vaccines for their children on religious or philosophical grounds have been on the defensive against the opinions of parents who willingly vaccinate their children, as well as doctors and public-health officials, who have been suggesting that parents get the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine.

However, adding complexity to this issue, is that in 48 states, parents have two other ways they can avoid vaccinating children: religious and philosophical reasons. Just this month, California lawmakers have brought about measures (as have Mississippi and West Virginia) to put an end to such religious and philosophical reasons through new legislation, insisting that all school children would have to be vaccinated – with the only excuse for noncompliance being if a child’s health would be put in danger from the measles vaccination. HealthMap also has a most excellent pictorial on the subject, showing the outbreak (with numbers of those infected) on a map of the Earth’s continents.

Where do you stand on this? If a parent whose child goes to public (or even private) school is not vaccinated due to the parent’s beliefs, should that child be expelled, kept from school, or forced to vaccinate? Just like with profanity, ugly rumors, dirty pictures (ok I’m bringing up too much of my own Elementary school experiences), all it takes is one kid to bring it in, and before you can say “Zap Comics”, everyone knows about it, or in this case, has it – and can bring it with them into to your home.

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