The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), an organization of physicians, scientists, and other medical professionals dedicated to treating and preventing infectious diseases, issued a statement on Feb. 5 about the ongoing measles outbreak, urging vaccination to halt the spread of the disease and to prevent future outbreaks.
“It has become clear that we are in the midst of a larger, very disturbing trend,” according to the statement. “Despite the fact that measles was eradicated from the United States 15 years ago, this country had 644 measles cases in 2014, more than in any year since 1994. 2015 is now on pace to well exceed that number.”
The statement attributes the increase in measles cases, in part, to the success of vaccination itself, which has made many vaccine-preventable diseases so rare in the United States that younger generations do not grasp their severity. Instead, the focus now often centers on misinformation about vaccine safety.
“It is a tragedy that some parents, often because of misinformation they may have received from friends, colleagues, or the Internet, are putting their children and others in harm’s way by refusing to vaccinate,” the PIDS statement says.
Adequate levels of vaccine coverage can stop the current measles outbreak and prevent future outbreaks. The PIDS statement urges parents with concerns about vaccination to discus them with their child’s medical provider. It also encourages primary care providers to engage parents in discussions about vaccines, provide clear messages about their safety and efficacy, and be transparent about the minimal risks. “Simply put,” the statement says, “vaccines are safe, vaccines are effective, vaccines save lives.”