The number of highly contagious measles cases nationwide is the highest it’s been in 25 years, with 704 cases reported in 2019 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Doctors are urging vaccination, especially for people traveling outside the U.S., saying that without the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine, the outbreaks would be much worse.
“The reason there’s only 700 cases as opposed to 70,000 or 700,000 cases is because of the vaccines that we have,” says Dr. Frank Esper of the Cleveland Clinic.
Most of the current cases are in pockets of unvaccinated people, like in New York State, which has reported 474 cases so far this year.
Proposed legislation in New York would end all non-medical vaccine exemptions in that state, including ones based on religion.
“You have a First Amendment right to practice your own religion, but you do not have the right to endanger your children or worse, other people’s children,” says New York State Senator Brad Hoylan.
That’s the message from a mother in England, a country experiencing similar measles outbreaks.
Jilly Moss posted photos of her infant daughter on Facebook. Baby Alba was too young to be vaccinated but caught the measles and had to be hospitalized.
“It has been absolutely horrific watching our daughter fight this,” Moss writes about her daughter in the post. “The truth is this all could have been prevented if the protection layer of older kids above Alba had been vaccinated.”
Measles can cause a high fever, rash, pneumonia, brain inflammation, and even death.