I think it's wonderful that parents are asking more questions of their children's pediatricians and do not follow medical recommendations blindly.
But doctors now fear that parents fears of a link between autism and vaccinations may be causing an increase in measles, as well as potentially causing an increase in other diseases or viruses.
From a CNN report, it says "measles cases in the U.S. are at the highest level in more than a decade, with nearly half of those involving children whose parents rejected vaccination, health officials reported Thursday.
Kids who are home-schooled or have exemptions don't have to get vaccinations.
Worried doctors are troubled by the trend fueled by unfounded fears that vaccines may cause autism. The number of cases is still small, just 131, but that's only for the first seven months of the year. There were only 42 cases for all of last year.
"We're seeing a lot more spread. That is concerning to us," said Dr. Jane Seward, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pediatricians are frustrated, saying they are having to spend more time convincing parents the shot is safe.
"This year, we certainly have had parents asking more questions," said Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, physician who is a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The CDC's review found that a number of cases involved home-schooled children not required to get the vaccines. Others can avoid vaccination by seeking exemptions, such as for religious reasons.
Measles, best known for a red skin rash, is a potentially deadly, highly infectious virus that spreads through contact with a sneezing, coughing, infected person.
It is no longer endemic to the United States, but every year cases enter the country through foreign visitors or Americans returning from abroad. Measles epidemics have exploded in Israel, Switzerland and some other countries. But high U.S. childhood vaccination rates have prevented major outbreaks here.
In a typical year, only one outbreak occurs in the United States, infecting perhaps 10 to 20 people. So far this year through July 30 the country has seen seven outbreaks, including one in Illinois with 30 cases, said Seward, of the CDC's Division of Viral Diseases.
None of the 131 patients died, but 15 were hospitalized.
Childhood measles vaccination rates have stayed above 92 percent, according to 2006 data. However, the recent outbreaks suggest potential pockets of unvaccinated children are forming. Health officials worry that vaccination rates have begun to fall -- something that won't show up in the data for a couple of years."
I'm wondering how other people feel about this. Even people who aren't parents have opinions because they could be at risk too. I'm wondering if we're all going overboard with the autism issue or if we should stop some of these vaccinations. I'd be interested in hearing some input!
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