Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Happiest Place on Earth and Measles


 A recent outbreak of measles has been linked to the Happiest Place on Earth--Disneyland. 48 of the 68 reported cases of measles has been linked to visits to Disneyland between December 15-20 and Disney has confirmed that 5 of its employees have also contracted measles.
    In 2000, the US had declared that measles had been eliminated from inside its borders. However, last year was a record breaking year of reported cases of measles. Turns out, “elimination” means does not mean that there were not and will not be more cases of measles inside its borders. Rather, it means that the it is no longer endemic and any more cases would be from those visiting the country. In fact, the CDC defines measles elimination as 12 months or more without “continuous disease transmission” in a geographic area.

    Before 1963, when vaccinations become relatively more routine, measles infected 3-4 million people each year. Since the elimination in 2000, roughly 37-220 cases have been reported in the US each year. In 2014, however, the number increased to 644 cases.
   
 This recent outbreak has brought back the debate about vaccinations. After a paper came out in 1998 arguing against vaccinations (which was retracted in 2012), the anti-vaccination movement has arisen. Many argue that getting vaccinations would be similar to injecting their children with “poison”. Some even cite the retracted paper and claim that by getting their children vaccinated they are setting them up for autism (even though research done since then has proven that vaccinations are not directly linked to those who develop autism later).
    The vaccination records of only 34 of the infected are known, and all but 6 of these 34 are not vaccinated. California public health officials are telling the public that the best way to prevent yourself from contracting measles is to get vaccinated. If you already got the vaccine, then you have nothing to worry about when it comes to the measles outbreak.


My Question to You:
Do you agree or disagree with parents getting their children vaccinated? Why?
Would you still go to Disneyland despite the outbreak? Why or why not?



1 comment:

Angelia Fontanos said...

While I understand that there are cons to having children vaccinated (here's a list of pros and cons: http://vaccines.procon.org/#arguments), I personally believe that parents should have their children vaccinated. Sure, you could say that making vaccination mandatory infringes on someone's personal medical choices (as stated in the above link), but vaccinations prevent the development of various diseases.
There are side-effects, which vary in severity, from vaccines (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#dtap), but more severe side-effects are very rare. So it is safer to vaccinate your child and deal with a headache or soreness (both mild side-effects of various vaccines) than to not vaccinate them at all and to have the chance of them developing a disease.