Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Truth of Measles

By now I'm sure you've heard of the measles outbreak in the U.S., and if this is news to you, do a quick Google search and you'll find many articles such as the one linked below.

As of January 30, there were 102 confirmed cases of measles spread throughout 14 states in the U.S.  Given a population of 320 million or so, 102 cases may not seem like a lot.  However, the country freaked out when 2 people contracted Ebola in the U.S.  Measles is MUCH more contagious than Ebola and unlike Ebola, measles can be (and should be) fully eradicated through a simple vaccine.  

This is particularly concerning given the increase in measles cases over the last few years due to a large anti-vaccine push among certain groups.  Historically your anti-vaccine people have comprised two groups.  You had the very religious group who believe the Bible tells them vaccines are against God's will, and you had the very liberal, anti-science people saying that vaccines are poison introduced to our bodies.  Both groups are dead wrong, but in the past these groups were limited in numbers.

The concern to me now is the growing push by mainstream politicians to discourage vaccines.  Over the last few days we've seen two national level politicians argue AGAINST vaccines.  Chris Christie argued for choice for parents, which at first glance seems okay, but a parent's choice should not trump known science.  Then Rand Paul came out saying vaccines are known to cause mental disorders, a lie so atrocious that it disgusts me.  

There are NO scientific studies arguing that vaccines are harmful to a person's health.  Yes, there can be slight, temporary side effects due to vaccines, and in very rare cases there are more major effects.  However, the chance of dying from these diseases is MUCH, MUCH, greater than the side effects.  

Many people argue that it is there choice to not vaccinate their kids and their decision has no effect on others.  This statement is completely wrong!  Not vaccinating your kids effects everyone!  There are people who CAN'T receive vaccinations for health reasons.  There are young babies who are too young to receive certain vaccinations.  Their only protection is herd immunity, meaning enough people are vaccinated to prevent the spread of a deadly disease.  

It amazes me that in 2015 we are allowing fully eradicable diseases to enter our lives again.  It amazes me how anti-science is becoming the mainstream argument.  I am deeply concerned by the future of this country and world when people are choosing measles over a simple vaccination.  To all parents and future parents out there, I urge you, I plead you, follow the science and get vaccinated.  Vaccinate your kids.  Help protect you and your loved ones as well as protecting those around you.  Your continued existence is at stake as measles, and other diseases, kill!  And they can kill in large numbers if not placed under control. 

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