Measles Initiative is fighting to reduce measles around the world. The Measles Initiative is a partnership among the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization.
As most of us know, measles can be easily prevented by a safe and effective vaccine. Since 2001, the Measles Initiative has saved lives by supporting the vaccination of more than 600 million children in more than 60 countries. As a result, between 2000 and 2007, measles deaths fell by 74% globally and by 89% in Africa alone. Unfortunately, millions of children are still unprotected — even in the United States of America.
For example, in January 2008, an intentionally unvaccinated 7-year-old boy who was unknowingly infected with measles returned from Switzerland. Once exposed, the 7-year-old contracted measles.
That in an of itself is a tragic event. Unfortunately, the child (and his parents) unknowingly exposed 839 persons to the virus, which resulted in 11 additional cases (all in unvaccinated children), and the hospitalization of an infant too young to be vaccinated.
City health officials in San Diego prevented further transmission of the virus, but it came at a cost of $176,000 or $10,000 per case, which included the cost of quarantining infants too young to be vaccinated.
Although 75% of the cases were of persons who were intentionally unvaccinated, 48 children too young to be vaccinated were quarantined, at an average family cost of $775 per child.
Is it just me, or do you think the parents of the 7-year-old child and those who intentionally chose NOT to be vaccinated should be required to reimburse some or all of these public health costs?!