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Measles Outbreaks Continue to Grow


The current outbreak of measles in Ellis County, Texas, is another example of why vaccinations are important in preventing infectious communicable diseases.

Ellis County health officials have confirmed that the people who had not been vaccinated contracted the 6 cases of measles.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. Ninety percent of people who haven’t been vaccinated will get it if they are near an infected person. The people at highest risk of getting measles during these outbreaks are infants (who aren't old enough to get the vaccine), pregnant women, and people with poor nutrition or weakened immune systems.

Some people have proposed that measles is not a serious disease and therefore children do not need to be vaccinated. It’s true that some children do not experience more than a rash and fever for a few days, but children younger than 5 years of age are more likely to suffer complications that can be quite serious. They also expose others to the virus.

Common complications can include ear infections that can cause hearing loss and diarrhea that can result in dehydration.

More serious complications include pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain) – both of which can require hospitalization and may result in death.

I think it’s safe to say that nearly all parents of young children today were not even born when a vaccine for measles became available in 1963. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) in the decade before that, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year. Also each year an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.

In 2000, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. This was thanks to a highly effective vaccination program in the United States, as well as better measles control in the Americas region. 

Then came a fraudulent 1998 study published in The Lancet, that suggested the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine could trigger autism.  Numerous investigations and follow-up studies determined that there is no link between the MMH vaccine and autism, but that hasn’t deterred some parents from making sure their child receives the vaccine. Therefore, putting their own child and other children at risk for infection.

Slowly but surely, reported measles cases have increased in the U.S. with a high reaching 667 in 2014. Last year’s count was 120 reported cases.

Measles is not a “safe” disease to experiment with and children’s health organizations worldwide agree that parents need to have their children immunized with the MMH vaccine.

Story source:

Jason Terk, MD,


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