As a physician, you understand how important and beneficial vaccinations are in controlling preventable diseases.
However, mistrust and misinformation have led to a growing movement against vaccines, driven in part, ironically, by how effective they've been in eradicating many infectious diseases.
To address this vexing problem, Texas Medicine each month will highlight a disease that childhood and adult vaccinations can prevent. The material is designed to help you talk to your patients about the realities of these diseases and to help them understand the benefits of immunizations.
Few Americans today remember when measles was deadly. But before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, the disease killed about 2.6 million globally each year. By 2016, vaccination programs cut that number to about 89,000.
Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, thanks to vaccines. However, declining vaccination rates in some regions have allowed measles to spread when it’s brought in from a foreign country. In 2013, 21 people, mostly children who were never vaccinated, came down with measles at a mega-church in North Texas. The outbreak began when a man who contracted the virus on a trip to Indonesia visited the church northwest of Dallas.
This year, six people who had not been vaccinated were confirmed to have contracted measles in Ellis County.
Children are the most at risk from measles. It remains a leading cause of death among children worldwide, even though the vaccine can prevent it.
The measles vaccine is called the “MMR” vaccine because it also protects against mumps and rubella. In the past, there was briefly a concern that the MMR vaccine might increase the risk for autism. That concern has been debunked. Only one study ever claimed to have found a link between the vaccine and autism. That study has been unmasked as an elaborate fraud and has been discredited by multiple subsequent studies proving no link to autism.
Click here for printable copies of the posters below (available in English and Spanish)
Tex Med. 2018;114(4):43
April 2018 Texas Medicine Contents
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