The Council on Foreign Relations has put together an interactive map showing vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks around the world. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (better known to parents as the MMR) look to have a high outbreak level in Europe with whooping cough also high in America. The red represents outbreaks of measles and the green represents outbreaks of whooping cough. (You can click the screen shot above to go to the original map.)
“Aaron Carroll today offers a graphic depiction of the toll of the anti-vaccination movement. (H/t: Kevin Drum.) It comes from a Council on Foreign Relations interactive map of “vaccine-preventable outbreaks” worldwide 2008-2014.”
“A couple of manifestations stand out. One is the prevalence of measles in Europe — especially Britain — and the U.S. Measles is endemic in the underdeveloped world because of the unavailability of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.”
“But in the developed world it’s an artifact of the anti-vaccination movement, which has associated the vaccine with autism. That connection, promoted by the discredited British physician Andrew Wakefield and the starlet Jenny McCarthy, has been thoroughly debunked. But its effects live on, as the map shows.”
“Vaccine panic also plays a role in the shocking incidence in the U.S. of whooping cough, also beatable by a common vaccine. Researchers have pointed to the effect of “non-medical exemptions” from legally required whooping cough immunizations — those premised on personal beliefs rather than medical reasons — as a factor in a 2010 outbreak of whooping cough in California.”
Despite having the whooping cough vaccine, my son caught the whooping cough in the summer of 2009 before we moved from Georgia. He just kept coughing. I assumed it was allergies. When I took him in, my 70-something pediatrician said immediately he’s got whooping cough.
Last year Arizona had an outbreak of whooping cough. I took my youngest in because she couldn’t stop coughing and the pediatrician wasn’t sure if she had it. However, since she tested her for it, she had to keep her out of school for a week. (The test results would take a week and she couldn’t let her go to school if she suspected it.)
All of my kids have had all of their vaccines. But I did spread some of the shots out further than recommended. I was especially nervous with Lilina because of the Hannah Poling case in Athens. (Here is an explanation about the case from Time magazine.) I read about the case and knew that the family was being awarded money because of her vaccinations and to me that was scary. (The Time article explains why she was awarded a settlement so please do read it.)
So what do you think of this chart? Are you surprised by the outbreaks? Do you view vaccinations as a public health issue or personal decision? Have your kids caught measles, mumps or rubella? Have they caught the whooping cough?