Measels Epidemic

Ashley Yost, Staff Writer

Measels, a disease which many afflicted many people until a vaccine was discovered in 1963, was eliminated within the U.S. by the year 2000. However, in recent years the disease has made a comeback, threatening the well-being of many.

The measles disease was prevalent in the United States throughout the early 1900s, but as science advanced, a vaccine was created in 1963. The vaccine was improved in 1968 and proved to be effective. The vaccine, called Edmonston-Enders, is still used today.

The CDC predicted that if utilizing this vaccine, the disease could be eliminated from the United States in the following four years. However, by 1978 there were still the occasional outbreaks of measles. Although measles were not quite eliminated, reported cases had dropped 80 percent by 1981.

In 1989, there was an outbreak among vaccinated children, which caused pediatricians to encourage second doses of a measles vaccine in children.

By 2000, the United States had declared measles as “eliminated.” This would prove accurate until recent years when large numbers of outbreaks—in comparison to previous decades—have been recorded.

The cause? Misinformation was spread throughout the parental community claiming that the measles vaccine (MRR) causes an increased risk for developing autism. It was later proven that MMR does not increase one’s chances of developing autism, but the rumor pervaded the United States.

Some parents stopped vaccinating their children based on misguided knowledge. Additionally, politicians argued nonstop about whether it was a parent’s right to choose to not vaccination for their child. This did not aid the situation, as some parents did not vaccinate kids in order to prove a point rather than protect their child.

This has led to much higher numbers of reported measles cases than in previous years. Now that the wisdom of not vaccinating has been called into question, parents will be faced with tough decisions and research.