Measles Outbreaks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is worried about the rising number of measles cases in the U.S. There have been 118 reported cases of this serious infectious disease in 23 states between January and May—more than in any year since 1996. Most of the people who got measles had traveled abroad; there have also been outbreaks in European (the highest number in France) and South-East Asian countries. But experts have little doubt that the resurgence of measles is related to parents’ unwarranted fears that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism, although many studies have no proven that there is no link—and the doctor who did the original research that started the controversy over vaccine safety has even lost his medical license. Most of us have no personal experience with measles, but pediatricians warn that the disease is potentially fatal, especially in babies who are too young to have been immunized yet. Vaccines save lives, so don’t skip them.

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