Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Importance of Disease Vaccination

“Love is like the measles. The older you get it, the worse the attack.” -Rainer Maria Rilke (Austro-German lyric poet)

Health officials say Britain is at risk for a deadly epidemic with more than 1,000 measles cases so far this year. The problem is parents who refuse to vaccinate their children based on one (contested) report of a link between the vaccination and autism. Most experts believe the shot is safe and effective.

Around three million children and teenagers are believed to be at risk of a measles epidemic because they missed one of two doses of vaccine, or are entirely unprotected. Measles can lead to ear infections, pneumonia, and permanent brain damage, and may even be fatal. It is highly infectious and can be passed on without direct contact before the rash appears.

The failure to vaccinate also puts children at risk for mumps and rubella.

Bottom Line

Vaccines and public health programs are designed with the expectation that "everyone" will be vaccinated. When people decide to forgo vaccination, they become enemy agents in the public health system as possible carriers of the disease; infecting all others who are not vaccinated. For more details on the public ramification of not vaccinating, see As Diseases Make Comeback, Why Aren't All Kids Vaccinated? by Instapundit, Glen Reynolds.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

From personal experience I can also tell you that exposing a pregnant mother to measles can cause birth defects.

December 14, 2008 at 11:16 AM  

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