Before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, the disease caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths globally each year. By the year 2000, the disease was virtually eradicated in the United States. However, in recent years we’ve seen a resurgence of measles cases, largely driven by misinformation.
Approximately 110,000 people died from measles in 2017 – mostly children under the age of 5 years, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. – The CDC –
Immunizations Protect Your Child And Others Around Your Child
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), measles is so easily transmitted that one person can infect 90 percent of the people who come in close contact with them. Children who are not immunized are more susceptible to contracting the virus and spreading it to their peers, which is particularly concerning in school districts where kids are in close contact with one another.
Parents can protect their children and others around them by accepting the recommended two-dose vaccine series for their children during the first 12-15 months of life, and again in middle childhood. Of course, there will always be some exceptions to the rule for children with pre-existing medical conditions. For these children who are truly unable to be vaccinated, contact with another child or person infected by the measles virus could be a death sentence.
Vaccinations Are Safe And Preventative
In recent years, some parents and public figures have incorrectly claimed a correlation between vaccines and autism. Multiple studies conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have refuted these claims, concluding that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine DOES NOT cause Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Nine subsequent studies funded by the CDC have upheld the research findings of the IOM. Sadly, continued refusal to believe clinical evidence in favor of false claims is the primary cause of the resurgence of measles, resulting in far too many deaths in our most vulnerable population – children.
As of this writing, at least ten states have declared an outbreak of the measles. While the virus rarely kills in the United States, recent surges in outbreaks may have debilitating – if not fatal – consequences for those who have contracted the virus.
Bottom line: Measles is HIGHLY contagious. Unvaccinated children pose a health risk to themselves and others. Don’t make the mistake of a lifetime. Get your children vaccinated.
Dr. Kathleen Brite’s background is as extensive as the care she provides. As both a practicing and a teaching physician at Bayless Integrated Healthcare, she’s abreast of the latest advancements in treatment and patient care trends, and serves children and adults using a truly integrated model. She is especially interested in community medicine and is committed to eliminating barriers so that quality healthcare is accessible to all. For more information about Bayless Integrated Healthcare, please visit www.baylesshealthcare.com.