A single case of measles – that’s the sum of Arizona cases this year – is newsworthy because measles had disappeared in the United States.
Now it’s back. The country may, according to the Centers for Disease Control, lose its status as a country where measles is eliminated.
There’s more at stake than a listing in an international report. Measles is a serious disease that may, though fortunately infrequently, kill its victims.
Vaccinations are effective and available. The measles comeback is the result of opposition to vaccinations, pure and simple. Its rebound in the U.S. hurts the country’s efforts to get other countries to adopt aggressive vaccination programs.
Measles is the kind of childhood disease everyone got. Those who were born before 1957 are considered immune because they probably had it. It didn’t take much to become exposed in those days. A single case can infect dozens of other people.
It’s not hard to catch now either, at least for those who don’t receive the vaccines.
An outbreak deemed a public health emergency in the New York area is now contained, the result of months of work to quarantine existing cases and the vaccinations of thousands of people.
The disease can be contained but its costly and time-consuming and a waste of resources when vaccines are so readily available.
Arizona is one of the states that allows parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children before sending them to schools. The number of non-vaccinated children has grown and with it, an acceptance that going without vaccinations is acceptable.
A number of frustrated pediatricians are saying enough is enough and telling parents they won’t treat their children if they don’t receive vaccinations. A study from a few years ago says some 20 percent of pediatricians follow this practice. Some speculate the number has grown as more people refuse vaccinations.
The ongoing U.S. measles outbreak has sickened some 1,200 people. Virtually all those cases were preventable.
People have the absolute right to not receive vaccinations. They also have the right to be quarantined and endure the unpleasant progress of the disease.
The right choice is easy.
— Today’s News-Herald