Tags: MidPoint | William Schaffner | measles | affluent parents

Infectious Diseases Doctor: Affluent Parents, Not Illegals, Spreading Measles

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Feb 2015 03:42 PM

Measles has roared back in the United States years after it was declared finished not because of infected illegal immigrants, but because "misguided" well-to-do parents are shunning safe and proven child vaccines, and even attempting home remedies, a viral diseases expert told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

An example of the bad decision-making by affluent parents is the rise of so-called measles parties, William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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The idea is to expose a group of unvaccinated children to a measles carrier in order to get the infection over with, creating future immunity without the shots that some parents fear as a health risk.

"I'm sorry, I'm stunned," said Schaffner, past president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, taking issue with "people who think the natural way is best.

"The natural way — back before we had vaccines for measles — killed 400 to 500 children in the United States each and every year," said Schaffner. "Measles and its complications did that.

"We can improve on nature," he said. "We don't let appendicitis run its course: We do surgery … and we can improve on nature in preventing this very serious disease among children.

"Exposing children to measles?" said Schaffner. "Oh, my word."

The 2015 measles outbreak has spread to 121 people in 17 states and Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which links 85 percent of this year's cases to a single infected person at Disneyland in Southern California.

Schaffner said he is "mildly sympathetic" to parents today who don't comprehend the scourge of measles, and he described the 2015 outbreak as both a product and a producer of misinformation.

"We got to this point, obviously, because upper-middle-class moms who are very well-educated and computer-savvy and want to do things in the natural way never experienced measles, aren't afraid of it, don't value the vaccines, go to the Internet, find all kinds of malarkey … and therefore withhold their children from vaccination," he said.

As of 2000, "we eliminated measles throughout the entire western hemisphere, all of North and South America," said Schaffner.

Today, he said, "we're the country in our hemisphere that has the lowest measles vaccination rate and the only country at present that has the ongoing transmission of measles.

"I've heard stuff on the Internet — 'Oh, the illegals are bringing it.' Malarkey," said Schaffner. "It's our well-to-do parents who are withholding [vaccines from] children, taking them abroad on a vacation. They get sick abroad, bring it home, and spread it to their friends."

The way to stop the spread, he said, is to strengthen state laws mandating child immunizations "such that they do not provide for personal belief or, frankly, religious objections to vaccination."

He hesitated to endorse another physician's call to strip anti-vaccine doctors of their medical licenses but he said the vaccination phobics in his field should be made to feel "very uncomfortable."

"There's always a few who are discouraging vaccination," said Schaffner. "They need to be called to account."

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Measles has roared back in the United States years after it was declared finished not because of infected illegal immigrants, but because "misguided" well-to-do parents are shunning proven vaccines, and even attempting home remedies, a viral diseases expert told Newsmax TV.
William Schaffner, measles, affluent parents
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2015-42-10
Tuesday, 10 Feb 2015 03:42 PM
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