February 18, 2015 – Public Health
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:04 — 1.5MB)
Anchor lead: Choosing not to have a child vaccinated against measles isn’t simply an individual concern, Elizabeth Tracey reports
The phrase ‘it takes a village’ is especially apt when it comes to the current measles outbreak making it’s way around the US. That’s because almost 100% of people need to be immunized to keep the virus under control. Diane Griffin, a measles expert at Johns Hopkins, says it’s not just a matter of your own child, either.
Griffin: It’s not only protecting your own child so that’s making a smart decision for you own kid, but it’s also a public health obligation for the small but significant number of children who have medical reasons where they can’t be vaccinated, they’re immunocompromised, they have cancer and they’re being treated. And those children have a high probability of dying of measles if they contract measles. They’re only protected by the fact that most people are vaccinated. It already is a mandatory thing but I would make it difficult to opt out. :32
Measles is the most infectious of the three exclusively human viruses, including polio and smallpox, that could be eradicated with immunization. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.