Immunizations are key to keeping simple diseases like Chicken Pox and the Measles from attacking the immune systems of our youngest children. In Great Britain where measles vaccinations are not required, a simple measles outbreak ended with over 20 childhood deaths this past year.
An estimated 20 million people around the world will contract measles and 146,000 of them will die from complications. This past year, with some Americans choosing to opt out of vaccinations or vaccinating their children, a measles outbreak has brought havoc to Mickey Mouse's community and spread to the East.
As a mother of three who were all immunized with the MMR vaccination, I understand the concerns. In fact, when my son was just 14 months old, he was vaccinated for measles. The pediatrician assured me that the chances of him contracting the measles from the small dosage of the virus that they give him was of the least bit concern. However, as we were leaving the country to sail in the British Virgin Islands for 10 days, I was very disappointed to find a young toddler spotted and sick. The good news was once he was diagnosed in St. Thomas, he never had a high temperature, and keeping him out of the sun to prevent scarring was possible with layers of sunscreen, umbrellas and clothing. A fairly mild case that we lived through without last effects.
Buzz Feed recently highlighted Roald Dahl's (beloved author of Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) support of vaccination for measles as his daughter died from the disease. He noted that his daughter’s contraction of measles and eventual death from encephalitis would not be any different today - doctors still would not be able to save her. Keep in mind that any childhood virus can turn from harmless to fatal when a temperature raises consistently for a few hours over 100 degrees.
In any case, here is the most recent information about the measles outbreak stemming from the west coast.
“The latest report from the CA Department of Public Health confirms 59 cases of measles in CA since December 2014. Of the confirmed cases, 42 have been linked to an initial exposure in Disneyland and include five Disney employees. Patients range in age from seven months to 70 years and the vaccination status is documented for 34 of the 59 cases. Of these 34, 28 were unvaccinated, one had received one dose and five had received two or more doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. The CDC indicates that the measles cases we’ve seen so far in 2015 span six different states, largely due to the outbreak that originated at Disneyland.”