Measles making a comeback

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A significant jump in the number of measles cases in England and Wales is raising concerns among health care professionals and epidemiologists, as parents choose not to have their kids vaccinated. According to the Health Protection Agency, there were nearly a thousand cases of Measles last year, a big jump from the 740 reported in 2006. This is the largest number of cases since records began being kept in 1995.

As has been discussed extensively, here and elsewhere, one of the main concerns with vaccinations has to do with the possibility of a link between vaccinations and autism. Of course, the experts have shown that those concerns are unwarranted and that the vaccine is safe. Still, parents are choosing to forgo the vaccine, figuring that measles, mumps, and rubella are less of a concern than autism.

"Although MMR coverage is starting to improve, we know that large numbers of children are still not fully protected. Therefore we expect to see more large outbreaks of measles in the future," says Doctor Mary Ramsay, a HPA consultant epidemiologist. "The only way to reduce the impact of such outbreaks is to ensure the uptake of the MMR vaccine increases, and that older children who have missed out come forward for vaccination."

I know my kids have gotten -- and will continue to get -- all the recommended vaccines. Having had a (now) preventable disease -- chicken pox -- as a young adult, I know how miserable such diseases can be. Luckily, I escaped with nothing more than a hole in my nose, but I worry that others may not get off so easily.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.