Painful rashes, diarrhea, even possibly blindness or deadly brain inflammation -- these are all symptoms of measles. Before researchers developed a vaccine, this disease once affected millions in the U.S. and hospitalized tens of thousands every year.
Thanks to the vaccine, measles was eliminated from this country two decades ago. Yet today, communities in New York and Washington state are experiencing devastating outbreaks today. This hour, we ask why is a virulent, deadly, but entirely preventable disease reappearing in the U.S.?
We learn about how low vaccination rates can put vulnerable members of our community in danger.
And we ask given continued fears in some communities around vaccines despite years of overwhelming scientific consensus about their safety, do we need to change how we talk about vaccines?
- Dr. Lisa Saiman - Professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, hospital epidemiologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and sub-specialist in pediatric infectious diseases
- Donald G. McNeil Jr. - Science reporter for the New York Times, who covers global health and infectious diseases
- Dr. Rupali Limaye - Associate director for behavioral research at the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
New York Times: Scientists Thought They Had Measles Cornered. They Were Wrong (Donald G. McNeil Jr., April 2019) – “Public health officials worldwide tracked the results, monitoring cases and tracking outbreaks. The news was good: Measles declined worldwide by nearly 80 percent between 2000 and 2016, with fatalities — mostly among children younger than age 5 — plummeting to about 90,000 per year from about 550,000. But two years ago, measles cases unexpectedly popped upward again, rising 30 percent in a single year. The virus re-invaded countries where it had been vanquished.”
New York Times: New York City Is Requiring Vaccinations Against Measles. Can Officials Do That? (Donald G. McNeil Jr., April 2019) – “Faced with an expanding measles outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York declared a public health emergency on Tuesday and ordered a program of mandatory vaccination in parts of Brooklyn. Such a health order is rare but not unheard-of in American history, medical experts said. It has occurred several times.”
Chion Wolf contributed to this show.