Your kid wakes up with a fever, runny nose, watery eyes, a cough. No biggie, just another virus. You call the school and curse the miscreant next door spewing germs all your son. A couple days later your son is still at home and now white legions have popped up in his mouth. You call the pediatrician who this time does not tell you to sit back and relax. The next day your son's fever spikes to 104 and bright pinkish red spots cover nearly every inch of his body. He is miserable, exhausted and very sick.
Welcome to Measles, USA.
Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
The measles are back in town. In North Carolina right now seven cases have been reported and are under investigation. Here in New Jersey, my hood, the state has issued a special alert having identified potentially 3 cases including someone visting or working at a medical center including a cancer treatment facility. The Garden States owns the distinction of having one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. In 2011 the United States had 222 cases , the highest on record in 15 years. I don't need to tell you the serious complications of this disease.
And even though vaccination rates have rebounded some since Doctor Andrew Wakefield's disastrous, unethical and fraudulent foray into the field of autism "research" there are still thousands of children still vulnerable to this and other fatal diseases preventable by immunizations. So even though the other preschoolers or students in your school might be immunized, their older brothers, sisters or babysitters may not be so lucky.
So in honor of World Immunization Week, take a moment to be thankful for having access to the measles vaccine. Not every kid has that luxury. Not every kid on the other side of the world. Not in every country. Not in every village.
If you have another minute here's what you can do before the bus comes or dinner burns (whichever happens first):
1. Join Shot@Life , the United Nations Foundation's grass-movement campaign to raise awareness and access to childhood vaccines in the developing world.
Sign up here , scroll down the page and I promise you won't get many emails.