A measles outbreak in the Whistler area has been linked to parents not vaccinating their children. There have been eight documented cases of measles this year. The last documented case in the province was three years ago.
Measles can be caught by being in the same room as an infected person. One in 3000 people with measles will die. It was almost eradicated in this country, until lower rates of vaccinations (about 85%) brought it back. Usually, cases in Canada come from abroad and spread through unvaccinated children.
Need to know more? The World Health Organization says:
- Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
- In 2011, there were 158,000 measles deaths globally – about 430 deaths every day or 18 deaths every hour.
- More than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.
- Measles vaccination resulted in a 71% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2011 worldwide.
I didn't realize that it was that contagious or deadly. And you know why I didn't know that? Because of vaccinations. You know why we don't see people in iron lungs, or children with polio? Because of vaccinations.
I have been very clear about my support for vaccinations. It saves lives. Full stop. People who don't vaccinate their kids are just lucky that the rest of us choose to. It is because of us who vaccinate that there aren't more deadly diseases circulating in our community. Furthermore, for those medically-compromised children who are unable to get vaccinated, they need the rest of us to create immunity around them.
- Jenny McCarthy joins The View and stirs up vaccination controversy
- Measles case in Ottawa prompts public health warning
For some reason, misinformation and opinions have flooded the Internet about vaccines. There is no medical link between vaccines and autism. None. Zero. The doctor who made the tenuous link has been discredited. The biggest, most famous proponent on the anti-vaccine rant is, of course, Jenny McCarthy. The newest co-host of ABC's The View. I've already written about how I feel about that decision.
Toronto Public Health kickstarted a campaign to get her removed from the ABC show, as a way to educate more people about the dangers of not vaccinating. While the public health authority has no hope of changing ABC's mind, they do have some hope of reaching out to people who are confused about the dangers of vaccinations.
They have released a list of 10 truths about vaccines to combat the amount of myths out there. Is it in the purview of Toronto Public Health to try and lobby an American television network about vaccinations? Not really.
But it is in their mandate to make sure Torontonians are in the best health possible. And that means encouraging vaccinations.
What do you think? (This is an emotional argument, please keep your comments on the issue of vaccinations, not people's intelligence, or their spelling.)
Infographic image: Toronto Public Health
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about the spectacle of Olympic parents.