State’s hard line on child vaccines is working

Published 9:48 pm Friday, May 3, 2019

Despite a scare, health officials said Friday that no one in Mississippi was infected after a traveler with measles visited the state last month.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said that a follow-up investigation found no exposures from the traveler, who visited multiple restaurants in Hattiesburg between April 9 and April 11, The Associated Press reported.

Mississippi has not reported any cases of measles despite the biggest nationwide measles outbreak since 1994. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 704 cases have been reported in 22 states.

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The reason Mississippi has dodged the virus is due to its strict child vaccination laws. Almost 100 percent of school-aged children in the state have received measles vaccinations. Some, however, would like the state to relax those requirements.

Some states have been softer when it comes to requiring vaccinations, and they now have measles to show for it.

Mississippi does not often find itself at the top of many “good” lists, but child vaccinations is one of them. Let’s keep it that way.

While we understand the reluctance of some parents when it comes to immunizations, we don’t understand the desire to leave children unprotected from a preventable disease. The science is established on the measles vaccine. It is safe, effective and has been around for 50 years.

Measles is one of the most contagious respiratory diseases in the world and has the potential to be life-threatening. It is caused by a virus and is still common in many countries, according to the CDC.

According to the CDC, before the U.S. measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3 million to 4 million people nationwide got measles each year. Of those, 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis because of measles.

The virus is serious, and is particularly harmful to those who are not vaccinated, including children who are too young to get the vaccine. The virus can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours after an infected person leaves a location.

We encourage lawmakers and parents to do their part to keep Mississippians safe from this disease.