HealthCommentary

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Measles Cases from Overseas

Posted on | May 3, 2008 | No Comments

Another factor reinforcing the need to immunize In January, February, March and April of 2008, 64 cases of Measles have been documented in 10 states across the US, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC says, “We haven’t seen the end of this.” The reason why?  Worldwide there are 20 million cases of measles a year, and most of our cases are transmitted from overseas visitors. Our defense? Mass immunization. Our enemy? Misinformation, which causes a portion of U.S. parents to decline to immunize their children. Dr. Louis Cooper of the American Academy of Pediatrics puts it bluntly, “Not fully immunizing children is one of the most serious and potentially fatal mistakes a parent can make with a child’s health.”

Here are the facts according to the CDC:

Myth: Vaccines cause many harmful side effects, illnesses and even death.
The Truth? Vaccines are remarkably safe and effective. Each one undergoes about 10 years of research before it’s approved by the FDA. After it’s approved, safety monitoring for side effects continues. Most side effects are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or minor fever.

Myth:
Disease is rare in the United States, so there’s no need to be vaccinated.
The Truth? We live in a global society that creates many opportunities every day for the reintroduction of microorganisms into our communities. Experience tells us that when immunization rates fall, diseases rapidly reappear.

Myth:
Giving multiple vaccinations at the same time – like MMR for measles, mumps, and rubella – increases the risk of side effects.
The Truth? Studies show no increased risks with combined vaccines. This is logical, since our bodies are used to being simultaneously challenged by multiple germs of differing types. Grouping vaccines together increases the likelihood of reaching acceptable levels of community-wide immunity.

Myth
: Even if you’re vaccinated, you can get the disease, so it’s not worth the trouble.
The Truth? Childhood vaccines are 95% effective in providing long-term immunity. The best protection for the 5% whose bodies don’t respond to vaccination is high immunity levels in the community to make it unlikely they will be exposed to the disease.

Myth:
The DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine causes sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
The Truth? While both occur in the same time frame of an infant’s life, multiple studies have found no evidence of any causal connection.

Myth:
Measles vaccine causes autism.
The Truth? There is no evidence of a causal association. A study of 530,000 Danish children, the results of which were published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that rates of autism were no different among vaccinated and unvaccinated children. The bottom line is, any risks that might be associated with vaccination are minor when compared to the benefits.

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