A recent article in USA Today focused some light on the issue of vaccine avoidance and its consequences. Two specific examples in the article included the death of an infant to pertusis and healthy boy who lost his arms and legs as a consequence of the measles. In my opinion, the authors and editors of this publication make a mistake by offering up too much credence to the vaccine naysayers presumably to provide a “balanced report.” Their arguments should have been subjected to further scrutiny. Here’s the link, decide for yourself:
Recent measles outbreaks in New York, California and Texas are examples of what could happen on a larger scale if vaccination rates dropped, says Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s director of immunizations and respiratory diseases. Officials declared measles, which causes itchy rashes and fevers, eradicated in the United States in 2000. Yet this year, the disease is on track to infect three times as many people as in 2009. That’s because in most cases people who have not been vaccinated are getting infected by others traveling into the United States. Then, Schuchat says, the infected spread it in their communities.
The 189 cases of measles in the U.S. last year is small compared with the 530,000 cases the country used to see on average each year in the 20th century. But, the disease — which started to wane when a vaccine was introduced in 1967 — is one of the most contagious in the world and could quickly go from sporadic nuisance to widespread killer.
Measles kills about once in every 1,000 cases. As cases mount, so does the risk. “We really don’t want a child to die from measles, but it’s almost inevitable,” says Schuchat. “Major resurgences of diseases can sneak up on us.”…
Even so, in some states the anti-vaccine movement, aided by religious and philosophical state exemptions, is growing, says Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He points to states like Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon and Vermont — where more than 4.5% of kindergartners last year were unvaccinated for non-medical reasons — as examples of potential hot spots. Such states’ rates are four times the national average and illustrate a trend among select groups.
“People assume this will never happen to them until it happens to them,” Offit says. “It’s a shame that’s the way we have to learn the lesson. There’s a human price for that lesson.”
The most vulnerable are infants who may be too young to be vaccinated, children with compromised immune systems and others who may be unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, scientists say.
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