Measles is on the rise in an anti-vaccination "hotspot" in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregonian reports that 31 cases of measles have been confirmed in Clark County, an area near Portland Oregon. Health officials think that there may be eight additional cases but those have not been confirmed as yet. The majority of infections were discovered in individuals who had not been vaccinated. Out of the 31 cases, 30 are children.
According to the Oregonian, the county's health records show that only 77 percent of all public school students have received a full course of vaccinations. They also noted that the majority of children infected during the current outbreak attend private or religious schools. The Washington Post reports that during the 2017-2018 school year, about eight percent of kindergarten-age students went unvaccinated and seven percent of them did so because of personal or religious reasons.
"The bottom line is, there's no surprise we're seeing this right now," said Clark County Public Health Officer Alan Melnick.
"If we don't get our immunization rates up, we're going to see more of this in the future."As Melnick added, low rates of vaccination have been caused by a belief in an alleged link between vaccines and autism. The main target of these suspicions has been the Measles Mumps Rubella or MMR vaccine. According to The Centers For Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) theories about this correlation have been debunked by several scientific studies. But much like a virus is an unvaccinated community, they continue to spread online via social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Some of the major supporters of the anti-vax movement include doctors and other influencers like mommy bloggers. The movement also has celebrity endorsers who have large circles of influence. As the BBC reports, last year, makeup mogul and celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D triggered outrage on social media when she announced that she did not plan to vaccinate her child. Von D was pregnant at the time.
More recently, Teen Mom 2 star Kailyn Lowry announced that she had not vaccinated her youngest son Lux, who is currently 18-months-old. She was also criticized for the declaration. As the Inquisitr previously reported, she responded by asserting her right to make health decisions for her children.
But Twitter users pointed out some holes in that argument.
As one person tweeted, "By not vaccinating your child, then having them around other children you're putting those kids at risk.."