This news report details a case study of how one unvaccinated two-year old triggered a measles outbreak that sickened 19 children and two adults in Minnesota.
It began when an unvaccinated 2-year-old was taken to Kenya, where he contracted the measles virus. After returning to the United States, the child developed a fever, cough and vomiting. However, before measles was diagnosed, he passed the virus on to three children in a drop-in child care center and another household member. Contacts then multiplied, with more than 3,000 people eventually exposed.
Nine of the children ultimately infected were old enough to have received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine but had not.
In most of those cases, the child’s parents feared the MMR vaccine could cause autism, according to researchers at the Minnesota Department of Health.
This idea that the MMR vaccine can cause autism, a discredited idea promoted by Andrew Wakefield in 1998 and propagated by high-profile people like Jenny McCarthy, seems to have taken root particularly in the Somali immigrant community with vaccination rates dropping from 90% in 2004 to just 54% in 2010. But it is bad elsewhere too. Ohio has seen a rise in vaccine-preventable illnesses recently
Amy Parker described how her ‘health nut’ parents did everything to give her a healthy lifestyle but did not vaccinate her. The result?
As healthy as my lifestyle seemed, I contracted measles, mumps, rubella, a type of viral meningitis, scarlatina, whooping cough, yearly tonsillitis, and chickenpox. In my 20s I got precancerous HPV and spent six months of my life wondering how I was going to tell my two children under the age of 7 that Mummy might have cancer before it was safely removed.
I find it hard to imagine that so many people are spurning the benefits of hard won science.