Scott: Okay, guys. How many of you have all your shots? You know, your vaccinations. Well, it has become a pretty hot topic. And now we are seeing some diseases we haven’t seen in decades. And Tom Hanson has the story.
Tom: It begins with a cough or a runny nose. Soon after, a rash and fever. You let it go for a week or two and suddenly you have the measles.
Dr. Greg Wallace: Measles is, basically, the most contagious of the vaccine preventable diseases. So if you’re not vaccinated and exposed to somebody who has measles, you have better than a 90% chance of getting the disease.
Tom: Measles is an airborne disease that can live outside the body for as long as two hours. It spreads through coughing, breathing and sneezing, and was supposed to be eliminated about a decade ago with an effective vaccine but now it is making a comeback.
California is seeing the highest levels of the disease in decades, with thousands of people exposed to it in the Berkeley area. One of the most easily preventable diseases if you simply get a vaccine.
The current measles outbreak in California is believed to be from a UC Berkeley student who chose not to be vaccinated. The student went out of the country and could have brought the disease back to the U.S., which is typically how the disease spreads.
Dr. Wallace: If those importations get into a community where there are pockets of people who aren’t vaccinated, it can lead to outbreaks.
Tom: And that can spell out problems for children and young adults who aren’t vaccinated. But other preventable diseases are also showing dramatic spikes, including the mumps. In central Ohio, they are dealing with a mumps outbreak. The virus causes fever, headaches and swelling of the salivary glands and has now affected 103 people, 81 of them linked to Ohio State University in Columbus.
With so many vaccines readily available to the public, why such outbreaks this day in age? Well, some doctors believe it is has to do with a trend called ‘anti-vaxxing,’ the belief that vaccines are toxic and can lead to disorders like autism. Now, I should point out that there are no scientific reports that prove that autism is directly linked to vaccines. And the CDC recommends that you still get all of your shots.
Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella are common in many states. In fact, in some cities they are even required. And in Connecticut, New Jersey and now New York City, the flu shot is also mandatory. But other states, like Oregon, are seeing record numbers of anti-vaxxers. The state has the largest number of kids starting kindergarten with non-medical waivers for one or more vaccines.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Oregon for the 2012- 2013 school year, more than 3,000 parents opted out of vaccinating their kindergartener, which is stirring some controversy.
Tom Hanson, Channel One News.
Scott: We want to know what you think. Should it be mandatory for healthy students to get vaccinated? Well, head on over to ChannelOne.com and weigh in.