Measles Outbreak in Europe Shows What May Come in U.S. as Anti-Vaccine Movement Bites: Report

Over 41,000 cases of measles have appeared in Europe this year, and the trend may spread to the U.S. if the anti-vaxxer community continues to grow, experts warn. Forty have died from the European measles outbreak, a disease spread that was unthinkable less than a decade ago, NBC News reported Saturday.

Experts claim European countries hold higher populations of anti-vaxxers, adults who chose not to vaccinate their children for the main, preventable diseases. Anca Paduraru of the European Commission in Brussels, says this trend must stop. “It’s the main factor leading to the outbreaks,” Paduraru said. “It’s unacceptable to have in the 21st-century diseases that should have been and could have been eradicated.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests 95 percent of the population have any particular, preventable vaccine in two doses in order to prevent widespread outbreaks. In some European countries, the number of vaccinated citizens is under 70 percent.

The U.S. has seen a considerable amount of measles cases in 2018, according to NBC News. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported 137 individual cases of measles in the U.S. in 2018 as of September 8. The CDC acknowledged some years see higher measles increases because of particular events, like in 2015 when a measles outbreak was linked to a public amusement park. 2017 saw 118 cases.

“This partial setback demonstrates that every person who is not immune remains vulnerable no matter where they live, and every country must keep pushing to increase coverage and close immunity gaps,” WHO’s Dr. Nedret Emiroglu wrote in a statement to NBC News.

The number of unvaccinated children is growing each year in the U.S. as parents on both ends of the political spectrum are pummelled with disproved rumors, endorsed by celebrities including Donald Trump, that vaccines cause autism. 

Though many studies have been conducted on the connection between autism and vaccinations, according to the CDC no results have proven a connection.

Only .3 percent of children were unvaccinated with the correct doses of 14 preventable diseases in 2001, USA Today reported. In 2015, the number of unvaccinated children was 1.3 percent.

The CDC advises parents who do not vaccinate their children to be prepared for outbreak situations. This includes removing children from school for an extended period of time, should there be an illness outbreak, and having a printed list of their child's vaccines, or lack of, in case of medical emergency. This not only keeps the child safe in a hospital environment but prepares the staff to keep others sheltered from possible illness.

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