Back in the year 2000, doctors within the United States believed that measles was a disease of the past. Immunization rates were high, and there were no cases of the disease being reported within the country. Times have now changed. There have been so many cases of measles this year in the state of Washington that the state’s governor has called a state of emergency.
In the state of Washington, there are over 55 confirmed measles cases. There have been measles cases confirmed in at least 10 other states. The state of New York has seen the second highest number of confirmed cases after Washington.
The cases that are being reported are almost entirely found in children who have not been vaccinated against the disease. Doctors believe that if 95 percent of the population is vaccinated against measles, that is a high enough rate to prevent outbreaks. The problem in Washington is that the vaccination rate is only about 78 percent. In one county that has been hit particularly hard by measles this year, the vaccination rate stands at approximately 40 percent.
Many people across the United States are no longer vaccinating their children against childhood diseases such as the measles. 17 states allow parents to not have their children vaccinated because of philosophical objections to vaccines. This means in reality that parents can refuse to have their children vaccinated for just about any reason.
There are two main reasons that parents are not getting their children vaccinated. One reason is that some believe that vaccines are responsible for autism in children. The vast majority of doctors do not believe that there is any validity in this belief. The other main objection voiced by parents is that childhood diseases aren’t serious enough to warrant vaccination.
Doctors warn that childhood diseases like the measles are very serious. Measles can be fatal. It can cause encephalitis leading to brain damage, and the disease can also lead to deafness.
In order to increase the level of vaccination, doctors are urging lawmakers to crack down on those who don’t have their children vaccinated. One way to do this is to end the philosophical objection to vaccination leaving in place only medical and religious exemptions.