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We're in the Middle of the Largest Measles Outbreak Since the Disease Was Virtually Eliminated
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=45252"><span class="small">Amanda Michelle Gomez, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Thursday, 25 April 2019 12:43

Gomez writes: "The number of people who have been infected by the measles nationwide is the highest since the disease was virtually eliminated in the United States, a public health crisis linked to vaccine skepticism."

Child is vaccinated in Moscow, Russia. (photo: Artyom Geodakyatass/Getty)
Child is vaccinated in Moscow, Russia. (photo: Artyom Geodakyatass/Getty)


We're in the Middle of the Largest Measles Outbreak Since the Disease Was Virtually Eliminated

By Amanda Michelle Gomez, ThinkProgress

25 April 19


The public health crisis has been linked to vaccine skepticism.

he number of people who have been infected by the measles nationwide is the highest since the disease was virtually eliminated in the United States, a public health crisis linked to vaccine skepticism.

There have been 695 confirmed cases of the measles in 22 states so far in 2019, according to federal health officials. This total surpasses the previous record set in 2014, when 667 people were infected by the highly contagious virus.

“Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease,” said the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, in a statement released Wednesday evening.

“We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease,” he added.

Measles cases have mostly hit families who have not vaccinated their children. “Organizations that are deliberately targeting these communities with inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines” are to blame, a federal health official told the New York Times. The highest concentrations of cases have been in New York and Washington state.

While all states require students to take certain vaccines, including the measles vaccine, most states grant exemptions for reasons other than medical. Virtually all states grant exemptions for religious beliefs and 17 states go further, permitting parents to not vaccinate their children for personal or philosophical reasons.

Lawmakers in some of these states, including Washington, have recently attempted to pass legislation to make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children — but they are facing opposition from some Republicans who say they’re concerned about tighter requirements infringing on civil liberties.

California did away with its personal exemption in 2015, after the now second-highest measles outbreak in nearly 20 years originated at Disneyland and infected 159 people.

Azar says HHS will “undertake a comprehensive campaign” to reinforce the fact that “vaccines are safe.” He also emphasized that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ready to support local public health departments in “monitoring and responding” to the outbreaks.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has said nothing about the measles outbreak. Although he could use his large platform to debunk vaccine skepticism, public health experts worry whether Trump, who has previously spread the anti-vaxxer propaganda that vaccines are linked to autism, is the right messenger.

“I don’t know if he does have the moral authority or the scientific authority. And he’s certainly done a lot to erode that authority,” said Dr. Howard Markel, the director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan, told STAT.

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+9 # DongiC 2019-04-25 15:34
When we need the President to use his bully pulpit to make a statement re the effectiveness of vaccines, we find the moron has severely damaged the edifice. His actions have had a most unhappy consequence. Now, everyone suffers. Words count, Sir Donald, and there is such a thing as objective truth. Your multifold lies have finally caught up with you---and everyone else!
 
 
+10 # BetaTheta 2019-04-25 15:54
Just another symptom of the larger problem: an epidemic of virulent stupid.
 
 
0 # lfeuille 2019-04-26 19:17
It's more than just stupidity. It's toxic libertaranism - the idea that the individual has absolutely no responsibility to the larger society. A lot of these people know than vaccination works but they just think their kids are too special to force to do it lest they suffer a sore arm for a couple of days.
 
 
-4 # Questioner 2019-04-25 22:15
Does the fact someone does not automatically believe what the government, Pharma companies, doctors, the media, or the scientific community tells them make them stupid? I don't suppose anyone can think of any times they have been wrong, or even lied for their own purposes?
 
 
+1 # BetaTheta 2019-04-26 10:54
The value of vaccination has been established fact since long, long before Big Pharma came along. They do profit from vaccines, but it a small part of their revenue compared to other products. Not to mention the bigger profit they could make if more people got sick through NOT vaccinating.
 
 
+2 # Texas Aggie 2019-04-26 00:29
Eventually one of these infected kids who should have been vaccinated is going to suffer brain damage from encephalitis, is going to die or is going to suffer one of the other serious side effects of measles and the parents are going to blame everyone but themselves.

The people sharing false information in an attempt to deliberately hurt kids are only partly to blame. No one is so stupid that they can't see the truth of the matter so the parents won't be able to blame them when their kid dies.
 
 
0 # rl2014 2019-04-26 08:11
Well, as the general population learns of the conspiracies of the United States Government to infect even its own population with diseases (Tuskegee Syphillis, AIDS in the gay population in the 80s, etc.), the experimentation on US soldiers with all kinds of chemical weapons. The development of biological weapons in US Biological Warfare military defense department centers that are tested on Africans and perhaps others, the sale of AIDS infected blood products by US Pharma to the developing world, etc., one can understand why people are fearful of the use of US vaccinations. However, I still vaccinate my children because I am more worried about them contracting the diseases since we travel internationally and people travel from all over the world to the US. For me it's a matter of weighing probabilities. I also make sure that I have them vaccinated in affluent White neighborhoods. The vaccinations may vary like the purity of the water - with zip codes.
 
 
+1 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-04-26 08:29
‘Lawmakers…have recently attempted to pass legislation to make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children: but they are facing opposition from some Republicans who say they’re concerned about tighter requirements infringing on civil liberties.’
But what about Civil Liberty Infringement by those whose irresponsible health acts cause the disease & even death of others? How like the Gun Control issue!