Anti-Vaccine Parents to Blame for U.S. Measles Outbreak?

A measles epidemic is slowly making its way across the United States and all fingers are pointing to the anti-vaccination movement. For quite a while now, anti-vaccination supporters have been spreading their belief about vaccines and might have caused an outbreak of measles.

The New York Times reported that the measles outbreak occurred in Disneyland, California. Since then there have been new cases popping up around the country, most recently in: Nebraska, Minnesota, and New York.

Forbes got a hold of CDC reports which state that over 84 people in 14 states are confirmed to have measles. However, this number might be an underestimate, since there are reportedly 59 cases of measles in California alone from Disneyland. Most of the people infected did not have vaccinations.

TechTimes took the time to ask physicians their opinions on the measles outbreak through SERMO, a social network for doctors. Over 92 percent firmly believe that the outbreak is caused by parents who refused to have their children vaccinated. Some doctors advise that unvaccinated children should not go to school to prevent the outbreak.

Doctors have been struggling with the anti-vaccination movement since its introduction into society. Some doctors try to apply a strict approach to anti-vaccination supporters by going as far as refusing to treat families who do not want vaccinations. Other doctors try to educate patients who believe in the anti-vaccination movement, most of the time to no avail.

The fact is that the people most in danger of measles -- if this outbreak should continue to spread -- are children under 12 months and the elderly. One or two out of every 1,000 children die due to measles. Currently over 30 percent of the state of California alone has kids who are unvaccinated.

Anti-vaccine supporters believe that vaccinations cause autism and that natural immunity, as well as a healthy lifestyle, is all a person needs as defense from diseases, such as measles. 19 states have a "no vaccination" policy. This policy allows parents to deny their kids of vaccinations on the basis of their personal beliefs. The policy is believed to be part of the reason for the measles outbreak.

The United States was actually declared measles-free in 2000, with fewer than a 100 cases of the disease a year since. However, since the rise of the anti-vaccination movement, measles has returned, with a recorded number of 644 cases in 2014.

According to an article on Vox.com, the secret to defeating an epidemic like measles is the herd or community immunity. The herd immunity, according to scientists, is the belief that vaccines will protect the spread of a disease, even if it is introduced into the society.

With the rising number of people getting vaccinated, however, U.S. citizens are more susceptible to foreigners who might carry measles from their country. As a result, measles have spread.

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