Measles is back in the United States. This completely preventable disease was eradicated in 2000 but has made a comeback in the past decade. More people have gotten measles in the first three months of 2019 than in all of 2018. But the outbreaks aren’t occurring all over the US — they’re happening within specific groups of people.
Anti-vaccination misinformation can lead to a drop in the number of children immunized. And when fewer children are immunized, a community can lose its “herd immunity.” When that happens, especially in small, tight-knit communities, measles can spread like wildfire. Seventy-five percent of all recent measles cases have happened in these small communities.
For everyone to be protected from measles, everyone who can get vaccinated needs to do so. But most states allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children for any philosophical reason — and that’s allowing measles to make a resurgence.