Measles Cases in Neighboring States


Maddy Moe, Writer

Alabama residents should be aware that the measles outbreak has cases in all of its neighboring states. In early April, a person with measles also made two stops in Livingston and Fort Payne, Alabama at a Chick-fil-A and a gas station. Even though the CDC believed the disease to be eradicated in the United States in 2000, some people have chosen not to get the preventative vaccine. For example, 3587 students in Alabama have vaccination exemptions for religious reasons. According to Alabama Department of Public Health’s School Entry Survey, 95.83% of students have been vaccinated in Madison County. 

Measles is an illness that usually occurs during childhood, affecting about 19 people per million globally. The Mayo Clinic states that measles is a viral infection that comes with fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and the very identifiable symptom of a rash. These symptoms by themselves don’t sound too terrible, but when various complications accompany it, it becomes more serious. The cause for many of the measles-related deaths around the world is the 1-in-20 chance of contracting pneumonia, which can be especially dangerous for young children. Even though death rates are dropping for measles because of the vaccine, measles still kill upwards of 100,000 people per year worldwide.

A vaccine for this illness is readily available for many people in the world, especially in the U.S. This, of course, raises the question of why this outbreak has occurred. One accepted reason is the increase of anti vaxxers who choose not to vaccinate their children against any disease. In addition to anti vaxxers, the CDC also cites an influx in travelers to the U.S. from countries with higher rates of measles as an explanation for the increase of infections. 

Junior Anaya Chambers believes this outbreak is largely due to anti vaxxers. She explained, “It’s something that can be easily fixed but is spreading like wildfire. Some parents would rather their child infect others around them than for there to even be a chance of them getting autism.”

Hadley Rosengrant, a junior in HOSA and the health academy, stated, “I think it’s really important that parents vaccinate their children and that they take the advice of primary care providers and pediatricians because people are going to die. It’s okay that parents want to be informed about the science behind vaccines, but once they are, they’ll find that vaccines are safe. Some parents are vaccinating their children over longer periods of time, but some doctors don’t allow this because it puts immunocompromised children visiting their offices at risk for dangerous diseases that may kill them.”