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Measles outbreak in Monroe County

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Thu, Feb 21st 2019 01:50 pm

Monroe County has been experiencing a recent influx in measles cases being reported. Most recently, two unvaccinated siblings spread the disease to an unvaccinated neighbor, according to 13 WHAM News. Monroe County Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza believed that it was an isolated incident. On the contrary, three weeks after the first case was reported, two more were confirmed in the Spencerport school district. The school district could not be reached for a comment. 

Recent anti-vaccination movements have been happening all across the country, which is contributing to the spread of a disease that was previously eliminated from the United States in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control. People on both sides have very strong convictions as to why they are or aren’t choosing to vaccinate their children. 

Those on the side of vaccinating their children see the danger in being unvaccinated children. One woman, Sarah Eide, whose son was born with myotonic muscular dystrophy is a strong proponent of vaccinating. Her son was never able to get vaccinated because he had a weakened immune system. She recently agreed with a Facebook post, writing “if my kid can’t bring peanut butter to class, your unvaccinated kid shouldn’t bring diseases.” 

Another mom and current Brockport student, Jay Rodriguez, shares Eide’s beliefs. She said her friend called her a “bad mom” for vaccinating her son. 

“I worked in a hospital, I had to learn all about vaccines when I was studying to be a nurse,” Rodriguez said. “I could tell you everything that’s in them. I would rather have my son protected than risk him getting sick or worse.”

Those opposing vaccinations believe that their kids developed or would develop autism from the vaccines. Heather McCready’s son started showing signs of autism after he received his vaccinations. 

“He was a normal happy kid until he got all his shots, then he just changed,” McCready said.

The argument that vaccines cause autism has been hotly debated as of late and there are several people on both sides sticking to their beliefs. Although the research is conflicting, most reputable sources say the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine doesn’t cause autism. According to autismspeaks.org a study of over 95,000 children showed that the MMR vaccine doesn’t lead to an increased risk of developing autism. 

Another reason for the anti-vaccination movement is many parents’ desire to be more natural and organic. Most people want to avoid the additives in vaccines and are concerned about there being aborted fetus cells in the vaccines. According to an article from verywellhealth.com, there is some truth in that belief. The MMR vaccine “contain[s] live attenuated (weakened) viruses which can stimulate immunity but cannot cause disease. The viruses are cultured in aborted fetal tissue cells. The cells were obtained more than 50 years ago, as a result of elective abortions — and today the cells are more than three generations removed from their origin.” 

Schools across the country allow religious, medical or philosophical exemptions to those who don’t want to vaccinate their child before sending them to school. According to vaccines.procon.org, New York State only recognizes religious and medical reasons for not vaccinating. 

The Monroe County Department of Health, who was unable to be reached, is warning parents whose children have only had one dose of the vaccine to get the second dose as soon as they can, according to 13 WHAM. Anyone who has had both doses of the vaccine would be safe from contracting the measles amid the outbreak.