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Measles outbreak leads to change in vaccine demand

Measles virus under microscope.

cdc.com

Measles virus under microscope.

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Due to a lack of vaccinations, a measles outbreak has started in Washington state; nearly 50 cases have been reported. Because measles is highly contagious, demand for the measles vaccine has skyrocketed in the last week, proving a need for vaccinations in a time of “anti-vax” trends.

Measles, which is predominantly seen in pediatric patients, is an infectious virus causing a fever and a rash on the skin; death rarely occurs. There is no treatment for measles, since it is viral. According to the Center for Disease Control, the only way to avoid measles is to get vaccinated. The problem is 80 percent of children infected were not vaccinated.

The “anti-vax” movement is not a new fad. It started in the U.S. in 1879 and opposition to vaccinations continued due to fears of polio and death, especially in the 1950s. By 1998, another movement began and focused on removing toxins from vaccines.

In 2007, the “anti-vax” movement picked up steam again when actress Jenny McCarthy blamed her son’s autism on his vaccinations. British surgeon, Andrew Wakefield, released a study in 1997 suggesting several different vaccines were linked to autism. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, Wakefield’s findings were later discredited due to an error in the procedure and bias findings.

A study done by the Institute of Medicine confirmed there is no link between vaccinations and autism. The CDC went on to confirm the findings and theorized the origin of autism as being genetic. The CDC’s website also states the use of vaccines is causing diseases to become rarer every day and eventually will lead the disease to become eliminated from the world.

According to the World Health Organization, vaccines prevent almost two million deaths yearly, and the global mortality rate for measles decreased by 84 percent from 2000 to 2016.

 

Children of “anti-vax” parents have begun to get their vaccines against their parents’ wishes.

 

“I had grown up with my mom being very staunch and open about her position against vaccines,” Ethan Lindenberger told CNN’s John Berman on ‘Anderson Cooper Full Circle.’ “Once I turned 18, I said, ‘you know, even though we disagree, still I’m going to pursue vaccinations.”

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Measles outbreak leads to change in vaccine demand