Measles Makes a Sudden Comeback

Evan McClure, Staff Writer

The recent measles outbreak began at Disneyland in Orange County in mid-December 2014, when at least 40 people who were working or visiting contracted measles. Now measles has spread to at least half a dozen states, and some cases have been reported in Canada and Mexico. In 2000, measles cases dropped to less than 1 percent of the US population, and the virus was on the verge of extinction in the US, but the reason it has come back 15 years later has to do with the anti-vaccination movement.


Some anti-vaccine proponents believe that people don’t need vaccines to protect themselves, or their children, and that if anyone ever contracts the disease, they can just just deal with it, and let the body heal itself. Some also claim that vaccines are too dangerous, believing they contain harmful chemicals. However, these claims are both scientifically and medically false.


With two doses of the MMR vaccine, preventing measles is more than 97 percent effective. Without vaccinations, the human body cannot fight off viruses and diseases such as measles, and as for the claims that vaccines are somehow more harmful to us than a virus that killed millions of people less than a century ago, are utterly insane, and are also false. Measles is highly preventable with vaccinations.


The anti-vaccination movement is as old as the first vaccines themselves, but then look what happened when the world used vaccines for polio, measles, influenza, hepatitis A and B, mumps, smallpox, diphtheria, rubella, etc. Need we go on?


Most people are worried that with the rise of the anti-vaccination movement, and the increase of measles cases, that the effects of “herd immunity” will end. Herd immunity is used to describe how as more people in the population are vaccinated against viruses and diseases, such as measles, then the risk of an outbreak is sharply lowered. The number of measles cases is now at about 156 cases, and the epicenter for the outbreak is easily traced back to Southern California, more specifically the area around Los Angeles.

The measles outbreak has led to debate over the topic of vaccinations, but this is a problem, not a solution. The solution is to face the facts, and make it a point that this isn’t a debate, it shouldn’t be, and to call this a debate is just plain wrong. Measles is highly preventable with vaccinations. That is all that needs to be said about the measles outbreak, and the media firestorm about it. Trust the experts, not some celebrity with absurd ideas.