Measles, Measles Everywhere
Right now, the US and Europe are experiencing measles outbreaks. In the US, just one case in an area or state is considered an outbreak. Let me repeat that, so you understand - ONE CASE - is considered an outbreak. Twenty-one states are at outbreak level, so that means that almost half of the country has at least one case of measles circulating through it.
Europe currently is reporting an unprecedented 41,000 cases of measles. Thus far, 37 people have passed away due to measles complications in Europe.
Measles is not just a cold. Measles is not just a rash. Measles is highly, highly contagious. There can be long-term consequences to contracting measles. Vaccination at high levels to the point of herd immunity is necessary to prevent outbreaks like this from happening. Here is an infographic on measles. 25% of people infected with measles will be hospitalized. That sounds like more than a cold to me.
It's national immunization awareness month, and it's no coincidence that it's in August as kids head back to school. Getting vaccinated is not just about you or your child as the individual, it is about protecting those around you, especially those who have compromised immune systems and/or those who cannot receive certain vaccines.
I feel it it is my duty to be vaccinated against communicable diseases, not only as a healthcare professional but also as a citizen of this country. I'm protecting more than just me. There are people who cannot get the vaccine for medical and religious reasons, and it is up to those of us who can be vaccinated to protect vulnerable populations (infants, elderly and immunocompromised).
If you're reading this, I hope you feel the same way. If not, I hope I've given you some information and some things to think about.
Photo Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention