Over the last ten cases, the U.S. reported only a few, rare cases of measles. However, Minnesota is now dealing with a measles outbreak. From the 32 confirmed cases in the state, more than 28 are Somali-Americans, and they seem to be the most affected. Only one of the affected children received the MMR vaccine. This latter protects against rubella, mumps, and measles.
The low vaccination rate caused a measles outbreak
The Somali-Americans in this state used to have a high vaccination rate when compared to the general population of the state. This was until 2008 when new reports said that the Somali-American students have a high incidence of autism cases. Since then, the Somali-American community started fearing these vaccines. They considered them as the ones that caused the autism outbreak.
Then, the belief that there is a connection between autism and the MMR vaccine started spreading even faster. Due to these concerns, parents decided not to vaccine their children anymore. Since 2008, the vaccination rate in the Somali-Minnesotan community started decreasing at an alarming rate.
In 2014, only 42% of children from this community received the vaccine. Before this shift, the vaccination rate was over 89%. Although measles can be fatal, most people are more scared of autism. This year’s measles outbreak began around March 30th. Since then, almost 40 children contracted the disease.
All of the kids that have measles are under six years old. To put an end to this outbreak, the Minnesota Health Department met with the Somali community. The Health Department was trying to present the effect of measles. As such, they were trying to convince people to vaccine their children.
A paper on the alleged link between autism and the MMR vaccine was published in the Lancet medical journal 20 years ago. Andrew Wakefield conducted this study. The British surgeon falsified data to find a connection. Since then, the medical journal retracted the study, and the doctor lost his license to practice medicine. He is now a supporter of the anti-vaccine communities.
Despite the fact that there are hundreds of studies, which were published after this one, and which show that there is no connection between autism and the vaccine, people still believe there is a link.
Another reason that may encourage this belief is the fact that specialists have yet to determine what causes autism. Anti-vaccine groups continue to convince hundreds of people not to vaccine their children, which may have also caused this measles outbreak.
Image source: Flickr
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