Over the past few weeks, there have been dozens of measles cases linked to Disneyland, which is located in Orange County, California.
The measles outbreak began with an unvaccinated woman, The Guardian reports.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes: "Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. About three out of 10 people who get measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. Complications are more common in adults and young children."
However, despite the worst measles outbreak in 15 years in California, many parents in Orange County are still not getting their children vaccinated, The Los Angeles Times notes.
The main reason is because these parents believe the debunked claim that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism.
The Guardian notes that Orange County is an upper-income, educated and politically conservative part of California, yet the anti-vaccine movement is stronger there than in lower-income, less educated areas.
"You have to be informed, you have to be an expert on your own child's health," Nicole, a mom from Mission Viejo, told The Los Angeles Times. "Once you vaccinate your child, you can never un-vaccinate."
However, AmedNews.com reported on a 2013 study published in The Journal of Pediatrics which found there was no link between vaccines and children who develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The study compared 256 children who had ASD with 752 children who didn't have ASD, and found that the kids in each group got the same number of vaccinations during the first two years of their lives.
“This reinforces the importance of parents having their children vaccinated,” lead study author Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Immunization Safety Office, told AmedNews.com. “This should help alleviate fears.”
“Parents concerns have evolved,” DeStefano added. “It started with the [measles, mumps and rubella] vaccine 15 years ago. The evidence became convincing that there was not a link between the vaccine and autism. After that, the concern was thimerosal. Again, the evidence on that concluded there was no causal association. … This addresses the latest evolution of concern that there are too many vaccines too soon.”
Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine of the Arizona Department of Health Services (video below) says that the measles vaccine is not perfect, but is the best prevention available.