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EPISODE 14: PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

Not too long ago, health officials declared the United States measles free. Less than a decade later, many communities in highly populated areas see new outbreaks of measles. 

While the United States was measles free, the rest of the world still had infections. Like the outbreak in Brooklyn NY, many instances are traced to trips overseas and spread with social interactions. 

If only there were something that protected people from dangerous infections like the measles, mumps, and rubella. Something that could prevent outbreaks even in the face of exposures. 

There is something. Public officials commonly refer to these as vaccines. Preventatives measures that protect people from exposures to dangerous pathogens. 

The discovery of vaccines is highly responsible for ending the mass loss of life related to catastrophic illness related to exposure to pathogens, especially among youth and elderly. 

Since many illnesses are no longer common in the general public, some feel there is not a need to continue to vaccinate children against things they might never encounter. 

In addition, some in our society created unfounded fears related to vaccines, which some take as fact. Combined with religious leanings of some, there is a significant population of unvaccinated people. 

Again, the eradication of an illness in one nation does not preclude infection from exposure in another nation, if the exposed person is not vaccinated. 

In the measles outbreak, the person of origin for the outbreak seems to commonly be an unvaccinated person contracting the illness during an overseas trip, returning to the community to unknowingly infect others.

The people who take the normal proactive approach and get the proper vaccinations for their children should have nothing to fear. The unvaccinated population are the ones at risk. 

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking a major step in enforcing vaccinations on the youth in the exposure zone of Brooklyn, NY. Fines will be issued to parents who avoid vaccinations. 

Like the issue with health coverage, there is a civil liberty issue in directly coercing people to receive something, even if it can save the life and money. 

The measure makes sense from a public health perspective, but from a civil liberty aspect, it may be troublesome, especially if it forces some to contradict strongly held religious beliefs. 

People should get themselves and their children vaccinated and keep on schedule. Vaccines are neither dangerous nor the route cause of illnesses some attribute to them. 

Do the right thing for your children. They should not get sick for your negligence. Also, cover your mouth when sneezing, coughing, or other similar actions.