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U.S. Measles Outbreaks Caused by Low Vaccination Rates and Global Outbreaks
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Some kids can’t get vaccinations – they’ll get sick, or worse, die if they’re exposed to the vaccines. And those kids depend on other kids being vaccinated to prevent the spread of potentially deadly diseases like measles.
But some parents are opting out of vaccines because they’re afraid of the side-effects, not because their kids are medically unable to receive them – and according to U.S. health experts, that means the kids who can’t get vaccinated are at greater risk.
Measles outbreaks are striking pockets of the U.S., including areas in New York, California, Georgia, Washington and Texas. The outbreaks are fueled by both parents who refuse the vaccines and by global outbreaks that result in U.S. travelers bringing the disease home. Two outbreaks have been traced to travelers to Eastern Europe and Israel.
To provide enough protection to cover most members of a community, vaccination rates need to be at around 95 percent. However, rates as low as 60 percent were found in some of the areas affected by these outbreaks.
While measles isn’t always deadly, it can cause serious and fatal complications in some cases – especially in the very young, pregnant women and the elderly. Some of the potentially fatal complications include pneumonia, swelling of the brain and something called subacute panencephalitis, or SSPE, which attacks a person’s central nervous system seven to ten years after he or she has recovered from the measles.
Thanks to the measles outbreaks across the country, social media sites like Facebook are committing to measures that will stop the spread about misinformation on vaccinations. They – and legislators – hope that this will help increase vaccination rates.
“We’re currently working with outside experts on additional changes that we’ll be announcing soon,” Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Facebook, said in a statement.
What Do You Think?
Some lawmakers are considering making it harder for parents to opt out of vaccines. Did your kids get all their shots, or did you follow a delayed vaccination schedule? Are you at all concerned about these measles outbreaks? I’d love to hear what you think, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page (yes, I know) or on Twitter.