Measles outbreak among the Amish

455195407The Amish typically have very low vaccination rates for three reasons: First, in their culture, they have not been exposed to the overall benefits of children s vaccinations; second, they believe that vaccines may put their children at risk of certain illnesses or autism, myths which have been debunked numerous times; third, some Amish believe that vaccinations imply that one is putting faith in man over God. Well, hopefully the Amish may be starting to change their minds about vaccinations with the measles outbreak among their community. Currently, the outbreak has reached 68 cases, the most cases reported since 1996.

The Ohio outbreak is linked to unvaccinated missionaries from the Amish community traveling to the Philippines, where there are currently about 26,000 cases of the measles, and bringing the disease back to their community. This has spurred many Amish to get vaccinated. Given the fact that Ohio is also experiencing a mumps outbreak affecting about 300 people, health officials are further promoting the importance of making sure that children are up to date on vaccinations.

Although most people do recover from measles, the repercussions can be dire, especially in children. Complications may include ear infection and pneumonia or brain infection. Furthermore, a little-known fact is that measles kills one to two out of every 1000 children infected.

As ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan has said before, There is no good reason for anyone in the United States to suffer from measles or indeed any other vaccine-preventable disease. We have access to these highly effective and safe preventive tools and we should all be using them.