Parents just want what's best for their kids. They want to ensure their kids safety, want to make sure they're happy, and want them to be OK at all points during the day. But when a disease outbreak threatens to compromise their safety, parents need to be aware about it. It's important that parents in the United States know that there's a rise in measles clusters this year, including a breakout in Brooklyn, New York.
Six children, ranging in age from 11 months old to 4 years old, in the same community in Brooklyn have been diagnosed with measles, according to NBC New York. This can be traced to one of those six children, who visited Israel (where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring), got exposed to the disease, and exposed others to it in the United States, according to NBC New York.
Five of the kids that have been diagnosed with measles in Brooklyn were unvaccinated (due to age or delaying vaccinations) — and one of those kids had gotten the vaccine but wasn't immune yet, according to NBC New York.
Measles is a disease that people (especially parents) don't want to mess around with. It's a highly contagious virus that can be transmitted through the air and infects 90 percent of susceptible people who come in contact with it, according to Parents.
But this disease is preventable by vaccination, according to Parents — which is why it is so important for parents to vaccinate their kids.
Parents can identify if their children have measles, due to their high fever, runny nose, cough, and a rash comprised of flat red spots. In addition to being super contagious, measles can cause severe complications, like pneumonia and encephalitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Although measles is preventable, too many families are choosing not to vaccinate or delay vaccination, putting their children and other children at risk," Acting Health Commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, told the New York Post.
It's that simple — the only way to prevent measles is by getting the vaccination that is known to prevent it, according to New York Post. But, as the health commissioner stated, parents are choosing to both not vaccinate their kids (for a variety of reasons) but delay their children's vaccinations, choosing for them to be vaccinated over time, rather than at once while their kids are young. 40 percent of parents in the United States have chosen to delay their kids' vaccines due to concerns about the safety of them, according to Scientific American.
But there are no benefits to doing this, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The CDC stated:
Children do not receive any known benefits from following schedules that delay vaccines. Infants and young children who follow immunization schedules that spread out or leave out shots are at risk of developing diseases during the time you delay their shots.
But, delaying vaccines can leave children vulnerable to disease longer and can "increase fever-related seizures" according to Scientific American.
On top of this, the percentage of unvaccinated children under the age of two seems to be growing each year. This is scary, considering that over 100 cases of measles have been reported in 24 states and the District of Columbia in 2018, according to the CDC. And it's imperative to note that the United States declared in 2000 that measles had been eliminated, according to Washington Post. But has experienced a resurgence in the United States for a number of reasons.
Parents have every right to decide what is best for their children — which means choosing whether or not they want to vaccinate them. But at the same time, they need to weigh these risks of potentially catching measles.
At the end of day, vaccinating kids and being aware of measles outbreaks is incredibly important.