Measles, a deadly and highly infectious disease that has plagued humanity since antiquity, has grabbed headlines because of a recent outbreak in California. Although largely eradicated in industrialized nations between approximately 1855 to 2005, the disease is estimated to have led to over 200 million fatalities worldwide.
A Brief History of Inoculation
Dr. Maurice Hilleman at Merk & Co developed the modern Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine in 1971. This is widely hailed as one of the greatest achievements of medicine, treating three deadly diseases in one shot followed by a booster. It was a timely discovery, as well; before the vaccine’s invention, measles killed twice as many children as polio.
Measles is an “endemic” disease, meaning that it resides within a population, infecting some and using others as carriers. Researchers are developing tactics to track the presence of the sickness in countries around the world in hopes that it can be completely eradicated.
Measles was once so common that infection was thought an inevitable aspect of life. However, incidences have become less frequent in every nation that widely adopted the vaccine. Fewer than 200 cases were reported each year in the United States from 1997 to 2013, which led researchers to believe the virus was no longer present in the population.
Modern Caution: Steps for Prevention
In 2015, Tennessee officials are making it clear in statements issued to the media that measles is a deadly disease and vaccination is both safe and effective. While no cases have been reported in the Volunteer State this year, the Centers for Disease control announced there were more incidents of measles confirmed in 2014 than at any time in the last two decades. Many residents of Tennessee are vaccinated, which means those who are not are fairly well protected. Higher rates of adoption would obviously improve their defense.
Immunization Concerns and Myths
Many believe the recent outbreak is related to contemporary backlash against vaccines, which are often erroneously thought to cause autism in children. Public officials and researchers have made it clear that the safety record of vaccines is well known and vaccines have shown no link to autism.
Green Hills Pediatric Associates is here to ensure the health and well-being of your child. Take a look at our Childhood Immunization Schedule and contact our staff for further information about the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine and other immunizations.