Outbreaks of measles, a disease once considered practically dormant, are on the rise once again, in part because of the spread of anti-vaccine activism, Think Progress reported on Friday.
A report released last year by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that measles cases were recorded at a 20-year high, with 80 percent of the victims being people who did not get receive the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine. Many of those who fell ill said they did not get the vaccine because of “philosophical differences.”
WABC-TV reported earlier this week that at least five people have been hospitalized due to measles New York City. In two of the cases, the disease was reportedly transmitted inside a doctor’s office. Officials in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas have also reported measles cases.
On Thursday, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and his wife, reality television star Kristin Cavallari, told Fox News that they oppose vaccination.
“I’ve read too many books about autism and the studies,” Cavallari was quoted as saying, citing an argument long held by another celebrity vaccination opponent, actress Jenny McCarthy.
However, a University of Chicago expert, Dr. Kenneth Alexander contested Cavallari’s argument, noting to the Chicago Tribune that the theory that autism was a result of vaccination had been debunked.
“Her words are dangerous, will result in the under-immunization of children, and an increase in morbidity and mortality due to vaccine preventable diseases,” Alexander was quoted as saying.
Medical professionals recommend giving a child the MMR vaccine when they are 12 months old, and as soon as possible if they have not been given the MMR shot by that point.
[Image: “Doctor Vaccinating Child” via Shutterstock]