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US On Track To Have Most Measles Cases In More Than A Decade

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking the rise and fall of measles for years, and the group’s latest research indicates that the virus is making a comeback. This year is on track to be the worst year for measles since 1996, in part due to that Texas megachurch that had a horrible measles breakout earlier this year, and experts are blaming those citizens who don’t vaccinate their children.

Prior to the 1960s, thousands and even hundreds of thousands of children were struck down with the measles, a contagious disease caused by a virus that produces red eyes, flu-like symptoms and a large rash that spreads across the body. In the 1960s, a vaccine was created and many lives were saved as a result. Unfortunately, in the late nineties, a study written by Andrew Wakefield said that there was a link between vaccines and autism. At the time, the theory seemed plausible and the anti-vaccine movement started gaining momentum among certain segments of the population.

We’ve spoken out on the vaccine topic before, but what some people in the population still don’t seem to understand is that getting vaccinated should not be a matter of debate. Wakefield’s vaccination links to autism have all been debunked, repeatedly and by multiple scientific groups. It’s still the best call to have your child vaccinated. That way the kid is protected from diseases and that child won’t pass along diseases to anyone else.

Some people worry that we are vaccinating our children too early, when kids are still babies. The problem with this comment, at least in relation to the measles, is that babies cannot get vaccinated against the measles until they are at least one year old, and the baby population is among the most vulnerable when the disease hits. So, if you are of the opinion that you aren’t harming anyone by not vaccinating yourself, that’s not strictly true. You're a threat to everyone else who hasn't been vaccinated; so, if you decide not to partake, please avoid babies forever.

There are technically two ways that the measles have become a serious issue again in the U.S. after it was largely thought to have been eradicated from our soil. The first is that people who have not been vaccinated from other countries sometimes bring the disease with them. The second is that people visit other countries and become carriers of the disease when they return home. According to CNN, a whopping 92% of the people who have gotten the measles this year have not ever been vaccinated or were unknown to have been vaccinated.

One out of every three children who contract the measles die. We’re not talking across the world, here. We’re talking one out of every three children who get the measles in the United States. We’re talking one out of every three children who have access to awesome medical facilities full of caring doctors and nurses. It doesn’t matter how good the care is, one out of three will still die. They won’t live to grow up and decide whether or not to vaccinate their own children. Once upon a time, the idea that it might be unsafe to vaccinate kids was open to debate. Now that the threat of autism has been debunked, the only way to ensure your child won’t be troubled by the measles is to vaccinate them. It’s not a debate.

Image Credit: Oksana Kuzmina/ Shutterstock

Jessica Rawden
Jessica Rawden

Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.