Our Views: So far, Arizona avoids becoming a measles hotbed

August 25, 2018

Tens of thousands of European measles cases may seem a distant problem. That hundreds of cases of measles have been reported in almost half the states should bring the issue closer.

What really brings it home is that Arizona, with its relatively lax rules on immunizations in schools, has the right mix to become a hotbed for the disease.

The good news is that there are no cases of measles, a once-common childhood disease that can be deadly, in Arizona right now. One state alert raised the possibly of a measles exposure in Kingman, though.

The European outbreak is tied to uneven vaccinations throughout the continent, mostly tied to delivery systems rather than opposition to the vaccines.

In the U.S., the story is reversed: Immunizations are readily available but some people opt themselves and their children out of them. Opposition to the vaccinations is based on debunked theories that tie the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. The MMR is one of a half-dozen or so vaccinations required by schools. Unless parents opt out. Arizona is one of the states that allow non-medical exemptions for vaccinations based on religious or philosophical beliefs

We’d guess one of those beliefs is that their own children won’t contract the disease. It’s understandable because the U.S. has been pretty much free of measles for a long time, suffering only very occasional and much-publicized small outbreaks.

Many of those parents who currently opt out of the vaccinations may have never seen the life-threatening complications that can result from measles. Measles may not be real to them.

Its effects are very real, though, for the families of the 450 children who die each day from measles around the globe. Or for the families of dozens who’ve died in Europe this year.

It could get very real here and very soon for those who’ve said no to the only real protection offered for this disease.

— Today’s News-Herald

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