A new research study reveals that a recent U.S. measles outbreak is due to vaccination refusal among parents. Measles is a disease that mainly affects children and it caused by a virus that belongs to the paramyxovirus family. The spread of measles among children occurs through direct contact, but it can also be transmitted through air. The virus spreads through the body by infecting the mucus membranes located in the nasal cavity, mouth, esophagus lining, and respiratory tract.
Once it spreads through the body, measles can cause high fever, cough, and is characterized by a brown or red rash that covers the entire body. One of the most significant risks associated with measles is that it suppresses the immune system, making children extremely susceptible to secondary bacterial infections that can lead to death.
Problematic Trends in Vaccinations
A research study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association monitored more than 1,400 cases of measles since 2000. The report alarms that out of the 1,400 cases recorded, more than half of the patients monitored had no vaccination record. The growing number of measles cases can be attributed to a lack of vaccinations among children.
2014 Measles Outbreak
Depending on the state, parents can choose not to vaccinate their children by obtaining medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions that grants legal defense for not following mandated vaccines. Out of the 1,400 cases included in the report, 71% of those patients had exemptions based on religion or philosophical beliefs, not medical exemptions. The medical community follows guidelines for vaccines set by the CDC, and can issue exemptions if the vaccine impacts the health of the child negatively. Medical exemptions are harder to obtain by parents however because health professionals know about the significant complications that can occur without proper preventative medications.
Changing Vaccination Exemptions
Vaccine exemptions vary by state, but recently California passed legislation to ban nonmedical vaccination exemptions following a 2014 measles outbreak that infected about 111 patients. There is general consensus among the medical community that states should make it more difficult to obtain nonmedical vaccination exemptions to prevent the spread of diseases that were eradicated through scheduled vaccinations.