Texas Measles Outbreak Might Be Just the Beginning of a Public Health Crisis

The measles outbreak that began in the North Texas megachurch Eagle Mountain International Church, may be just the beginning of a health crisis that could easily spread into Oklahoma.

According to Liz Szabo of USA Today:

“Those sickened by measles include nine children and six adults, ranging in age from 4 months old to 44 years old. At least 12 of those infected were not fully immunized against measles, Roy says. The other patients lack documents to show whether they were vaccinated.”

Kenneth Copeland, the leader of the church, advocates faith healing and has pushed followers to avoid vaccines because of a debunked assertion that childhood vaccines cause autism. The study by Andrew Wakefield in Wales was shown to be erroneous, but it resulted in an MMR vaccine scare that began in 1998. The scare persists today, and is publicly promoted by Jenny McCarthy.

Since the outbreak, the church has set up free vaccination clinics and urged people to be vaccinated. The church leadership realized that measles is an extremely contagious infection that spreads easily and quickly. There is no treatment; however, the vaccination has virtually eliminated the disease in the United States. Or it HAD virtually eliminated it…

What if you were the mom of the 4-month-old baby who contracted measles at the church? Immunizations not only protect individual children who get them, but they create “herd immunity” whereby those who are not immunized, such as a very young infant, are protected by others being vaccinated. It’s very simple. If all who can be vaccinated receive the vaccination, those such as the very young or very vulnerable, also will be protected.

The symptoms of measles include the rash that most of us associate with measles, a cough, fever and pain. It can also lead to serious outcomes such as pneumonia, brain inflammation and death.

The even scarier result of people not having their children immunized against measles is that they must not be getting ANY immunizations for their children. The Texas measles outbreak began with a member of the congregation going overseas and bringing the infection back. This could happen with any disease that children and adults are not immunized against. That’s what’s behind the recent rise in whooping cough. What’s next? Polio?

Categories: Editor’s Blog