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Measles Outbreak Triggered by Unvaccinated Child
Date:3/22/2010

r children, often because of fears about serious side effects. In fact, a recent study from the University of Michigan found that even among those who do vaccinate, more than half are concerned about serious side effects. Many of these fears stem a reported link between the MMR vaccine and autism. This link has been disproved in numerous studies, however.

"There are several reasons why parents are choosing not to vaccinate," said study co-author Albert Barskey, a CDC epidemiologist. "Some are afraid of adverse events, and a lot of these fears are unfounded. Others feel that if their child does get sick, the current health-care system can take care of any unfortunate events, and some just don't see measles as a risk. They don't think it's in this country any more and don't think of traveling to Europe as a place where they might contract measles."

The San Diego outbreak, which Seward said was quickly and aggressively contained by the public health department, cost about $177,000 to get under control. Those costs include direct medical charges, the cost of quarantining those exposed, plus the expense of state and county personnel involved in containing the outbreak.

At the charter school that the 7-year-old with measles attended, 11 percent of the children were unvaccinated for measles. While state, or even county-level vaccination numbers may be high, pockets of areas exist where much higher numbers of children are unvaccinated, Barskey said.

Parents who intentionally under-vaccinate tended to be white, college-educated and have an upper or middle-income level, the study found. Many believe that living a "natural lifestyle" will protect their children against vaccine-preventable illness, according to the study.

"There's definitely a lack of appreciation of measles and what it can do," said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philad
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