There's a Major Measles Outbreak in NYC, Thanks to Anti-Vaxxers

Back in 2000, measles was considered to be "eliminated" in the United States. But today—thanks largely to the efforts of anti-vaccination campaigns (for your health!)—the highly contagious disease is popping up all over the place. Oh, cool! Nothing like resurrecting a killer of children in the name of protecting children!

Measles, in children, is fatal in about 1 out of every 1000 cases. Severe reactions to the MMR vaccine are estimated at around 1 in 1 million. That means that contracting measles is measurably more dangerous than being vaccinated for measles. Measles is also extremely contagious—"so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected with the measles virus." That means that if your unvaccinated child contracts measles, then 90% of the immunocompromised people and people with vaccine allergies and infants too young to be vaccinated WILL ALSO GET MEASLES and some of those people will die. The primary reason that vaccination is important is that not all people can be vaccinated. Herd immunity protects those people's lives.

You are, essentially, turning your child into a biological weapon.

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Here's the Daily Beast:

This is sheer lunacy. Just over a dozen years ago this illness was considered eliminated in our country, and this year people are being hospitalized for it. All due to the hysteria about a safe, effective vaccine. All based on nothing.

There is no legitimate scientific controversy about whether or not vaccines are safe. The original study that started us down this insane path by linking the MMR vaccine to autism has been retracted outright. The evidence against administering the MMR vaccine to healthy individuals is utterly without merit.

But people continue to make the utterly baffling choice to refuse it anyway. Dispiriting new information seems to indicate that they are immune to persuasion when confronted with facts inconvenient to their worldview. Indeed, writers at prominent online media outlets chide us for "demeaning" vaccine-deniers, saying to do so "defies explanation."

And, just in time, here are the latest celebrities to join the anti-vaccination movement FOR LITERALLY NO REASON: Dr. Kristin Cavallari and Dr. Jay Cutler.

Cavallari, who is pregnant with her second child, told host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery that she and Cutler hadn't vaccinated their first son and would not vaccinate their second one once he is born. When Montgomery challenged her by arguing that there is no real evidence showing that vaccines are harmful, Cavallari responded that she had "read too many books about autism" and cited the fact that one in 88 boys are diagnosed with autism today.

Cavallari also said that contemporary vaccines have higher levels of mercury than those in the past did — a common talking point among vaccine truthers — and that one anti-vaccine organization whose members refuse to vaccinate children had seen zero instances of an autism diagnosis.

Cavallari and Cutler have revealed themselves to be part of a burgeoning anti-vaccine movement that is terrifying public health officials. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn that misinformation about vaccines' safety is leading to anunprecedented resurgence in contagious diseases that were once practically eradicated in the United States, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough.

I'm not entirely certain that "read too many books" is the problem here.

Not to mention the fact that the same standard of healthcare isn't available to all people in this country. Perhaps it's easy for Kristin Cavallari and Jenny McCarthy to imagine just "dealing" with measles, were their children to become infected, because their children aren't low-income minorities with limited proficiency in English. Lucky them.

I don't think it's particularly productive to pile the blame for every case of Nü-Measles on Jenny McCarthy—that lets a lot of other people off the hook (and, sure, I believe that McCarthy thought she was doing a good thing for children, even though she was dangerously, selfishly wrong). But, in honor of her contributions to this current outbreak, I propose that Measles: Part Deux (Measles: Legend of Curly's Painful Death by Secondary Infection!) should heretofore be referred to as McMeasles.

People. Please help stop the spread of McMeasles. I'm McBegging you.

Image via Getty.