Oakton Outlook

Measles Outbreak in the US

Coverage on the measles outbreak, how it started, and how it spread

Sarah Jeffries, Staff Writer

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Although it’s cold and flu season, there is a much more concerning illness thats spreading its way into U.S. headlines. Most of us by now know that there has been an unusually high amount of confirmed measles cases in the United States this year, the most noticeable outbreak being in a small town in Oregon that is known for its high rates of anti-vaccination supporters. According to the CDC measles was declared “eliminated” from the United States in 2000 due to the invention of the measles vaccination and although there was a large outbreak in 2014, generally from 2000-2016 the number of reported cases with the virus was reduced by 87%. Since 2016 the amount of anti-vaccination supporters has risen. Recently, there have been much more questions concerning whether or not the possible side effects from some of the harmful ingredients used to enhance the effects of many common children’s vaccinations are more of a problem then the disease the vaccinations protect against. Many vaccines are known to include elements such as aluminum, mercury, and formaldehyde which in high doses are all toxic, however, there are extremely small doses in vaccines making them safe for use. Many anti-vaxxers worry that these trace amounts could cause harm to their young children, claiming that these substances could cause developmental delays, autism, organ failure or even death. Since many of these diseases have been almost eliminated from existence with few very rare cases (often contracted from other countries) these parents believe that the chance of their child getting something such as measles is much less of a possibility than their child having an adverse reaction to the vaccine, which is taking advantage of something called herd immunity. Herd immunity is used to protect a small part of the population that is unable to receive vaccines for reasons such as severe allergic reactions, or being on medications that suppress the immune system such as chemotherapy. These people rely on others to reduce their risk of getting an infection. Anti-vaxxers are causing the herd immunity to weaken putting these individuals along with many vaccinated individuals at a much higher risk for contracting an illness. This is why there has been outbreaks in unvaccinated areas. The most recognized outbreak was in a small town in Washington where the antivaxxer population is one of the largest in the country. Because of the lack of protection against the disease there were many vaccinated children that got sick and the many unvaccinated children that got sick were in much more critical situations due to their immune systems not having any protection against the virus. This is why it’s important for everyone that can receive a vaccination gets one and protects the population from such major harm. On the other hand, in a few cases, although somewhat rare, there are people who have adverse reactions to vaccinations, so there are exceptions in both cases that need to be taken into consideration while trying to protect a population from harm. 

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About the Writer
Sarah Jeffries, Staff Writer

Hi! I'm Sarah, a sophomore at Oakton, and I am a staff member on the Oakton Outlook. I love to write stories in my free time, and I love to read, mostly...

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Measles Outbreak in the US