Resurgence of measles cases hits home

A case of measles was linked to Disneyland in December. Since then, the state of California has linked 51 cases to the amusement park.
But that’s in the golden state. What do Northwest students have to worry about?

The state of Kansas requires that every pupil enrolled in any school must have proof of “proper tests and inoculations,” according to the National Vaccine Information Center. Students can be exempt from these requirements, however, for medical reasons (vaccinations endanger the child) or for religious ones (religious teachings oppose such tests or inoculations).

Here, there are several students who have received exemptions for these reasons. And for the most part, the virus spreads among those who haven’t been vaccinated–this was the case for 82% of those infected in California. The respiratory disease is spread through the air, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat.

Besides these reasons, parents have prohibited their children from being vaccinated for the fear of putting the child at a higher risk for autism. A 1998 study conducted by former doctor Andrew Wakefield suggested a connection between vaccinations and the development of autism spectrum disorder. Wakefield himself and the CDC have since then denied the existence of a link between the medicine and the disorder, but the publication has made a lasting impression on parents not versed in scientific literature.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the side effects from the immunizations,” school nurse Terry Magana said.

It’s been proven, though, that vaccines do not cause autism. Most importantly, it’s been proven that the MMR vaccine works.

“Two doses of measles-containing vaccine (MMR vaccine) are more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles,” the California health department said in a press release.

Magana stresses the significance of discussing these issues with experts in the medical field.

“Parents really need to discuss it with their physicians,” Magana said. “Not only for their health, but for everyone around them too. It’s a community issue, it’s not just that one child’s issue. A lot of parents really don’t think about that.”