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Measles Outbreak and Antivaccination Movement

Who's to Blame For the Latest Measles Outbreak?

Measles is making a terrifying comeback. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 539 measles cases and 17 outbreaks have been reported in the last six months, many of which are a result of parents following the antivaccination movement. What followers don't realize, however, is that their decision affects more than the people in their house.

Dr. Pauline Chen recently took to The New York Times to share her medical perspective on the measles's return. In the article, Chen points out that unvaccinated children are 35 times more likely to contract the disease than vaccinated children. As a result, they can carry and pass on the disease to those who are too young to be immunized or those with an already-compromised immune system. She adds, however, that doctors could share some of the blame for the spread. Chen writes:

Most practicing doctors, myself included, have never cared for a patient with measles. Confronted with a patient suffering from a fever, red eyes, runny nose, cough and blotchy rash, we don't even think of measles, let alone order the dramatic precautions necessary to prevent its spread, like mandating facial masks, isolating patients in rooms equipped with specialized ventilation systems and reporting to appropriate infection control experts.

At the end of the day, however, measles is a preventable disease and should not be spreading as quickly as it has been. While parents have every right to make decisions about their own children's health, Chen believes they also have to think about the harm their choice can have on others. Do you agree?

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Join The Conversation
AmandaMcMahon76972 AmandaMcMahon76972 2 years

It appears 10 percent. Also check out "Measles Mary" study. http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/...

There's risk on each side. And, for many who are pro-choice in vaccines, it isn't about autism.

AmyAsbill AmyAsbill 2 years

You say the Canadian outbreak of measles was primarily caused by people who were vaccinated.

It just so happens that the medical community has discovered that the current outbreak of whooping cough, which is at a 50-year high, has been caused by the most recent form of the vaccination. The vaccination was recently altered because in the past it had negative side effects. However, they found out the current form is living in the throats of those who are vaccinated, while sometimes keeping them asymptomatic, but transmitting & infecting others with the virus. The study confirming this was recently published in a medical journal & the FDA made a formal statement about the situation saying "more people should take the whooping cough vaccine."

I don't think that's very ethical medicine - to give people medicine that you know spreads illness throughout the population. What happened to "do no harm?"

EronneWard EronneWard 2 years

they know the numbers. They don't need to guess. It always concerns me when they aren't provided. How many vaccinated people got the measles out of this group?

EronneWard EronneWard 2 years

I know we aren't supposed to ask any questions about the details lest be labelled as an anti-vaccination nut but I would like to know how many 'vast majority' means when referring to the number of afflicted that were unvaccinated and more importantly an explanation as to how the vaccinated are getting measles.

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