The 44th President implored the members of his staff that a key aspect of their collective success could be summarized by a simple notion: Don’t do stupid stuff. If only many more parents nationwide would concur — and shun the anti-scientific nonsense peddled by anti-vaxxers. As the new year advances, public health officials across the country are battling measles outbreaks, dozens of reported cases in the Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon) and in New York City.
The concern is rising because disease carriers are increasing in their number and mobility in areas where populations may be especially vulnerable due to low vaccination rates. Public health officials have likened the situation to “tossing a match into a can of gasoline,” or a disease spread “like a wildfire.”
As the New York Times reported of the risks this childhood infection poses: “Measles can cause permanent neurological damage, deafness and in relatively rare cases, death.”