Public Enemy #1 - April 2019
The United States is now in the midst of the worst measles outbreak since 1994 all because of conspiracy theorists deciding that their beliefs outweigh scientific advisory.
Opposition and anti-vaxxers have always existed. Since the introduction of vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease there have been those that opposed the practices.
The more modern movement of skipping vaccinations more prevalently stems from a revelation in the early 2000s. The compound thimerosal, which can be found in diseases vaccinations as a preserving agent, was the center of this concern.
The CDC has concluded that thimerosal does not pose a threat to the public in the small doses that are included in vaccinations other than minor rashes and reactions to the compound. This, however, did not stop those in the public from associating the rising autism rates in infant children with the choice of federal agencies to take precaution with thimerosal. By July 1999, various public health agencies concluded that the ingredient should be reduced or altogether removed from vaccination vials. Thimerosal has been largely phased out of all children's vaccines according to the CDC.
Fast-forwarding to present day and the outbreak of measles in the U.S. has come as a result of skepticism. There have been more than 760 individual cases of the measles this year a record high since 1994.
The anti-vax movement receives the designation of Public Enemy #1 for the month of April because they are just that, the enemy of the public. If measles were largely eliminated in the early 2000s why are record highs being recorded nearly 20 years afterward?
Refusal to vaccinate your children is a threat not just to your children's health, but a threat to everyone's health. Anyone exposed to a virus could infect a number of people. Since not everyone is capable of being vaccinated (infants too young to receive vaccinations as well as specific medical exemptions) increasing the number of people without protection from the virus can have a terrible result. There is even the chance that those vaccinated can contract the disease if substantially exposed to the virus.
What a time to be alive.
See what Twitter had to say about the measles outbreak and anti-vax movement below: