Measles more measles

It has been almost a year since our last posts on measles (here and here). Now there is a report out from NPR concerning a 16-person outbreak in Vancouver associated with the Olympics. Half of the cases are reportedly in a family who rejected vaccination; apparently a large family at that. There is also a report out in Pediatrics of the 2008 San Diego outbreak whose index child acquired it in Switzerland, which has a lower than 95% level of vaccination required for herd immunity to measles. The San Diego outbreak resulted in 839 exposures and 11 additional cases. Of the 839, 73 were not vaccinated and 48 of those were too young (less than 1) to be vaccinated. That's why herd immunity (or vaccination rates >95%) are so important, since the infants can't be protected with vaccination. The remaining 25 had parents that refused vaccination. I didn't realize that Switzerland had such low vaccination rates.

Think about all of the money spent to track and then treat the contacts and cases in these outbreaks, and the needless suffering. It's too bad we can't charge those that intentionally don't vaccinate their kids if their kids spread disease. I'm not sure how you would do that. You have to pay taxes for fire and police and the army (mandated), you have to have auto insurance to drive a car and we may even need to have health insurance here soon, but you still don't have to get a measles vaccine to breathe on an infant!


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