So there is another measles outbreak, this time in Minnesota. Unlike recent experience with mumps, in which outbreaks are associated with vaccine failure (over 60% of cases occurring among recipients of two mumps vaccines), measles outbreaks occur primarily among the unvaccinated, and are sustained by those who reject or avoid the MMR (see prior posts here and here). Of the 13 confirmed Minnesota cases, 5 were too young to be vaccinated, 6 should have been vaccinated but were not, and 2 so far are of unknown vaccine status. Regular updates can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website. There’s also an interesting article in the Star-Tribune about resistance in the local Somali community to receipt of MMR, out of fears of….you guessed it, autism.
We’ve covered this ground before—go here for our prior posts on the anti-vaccine movement. We recently had some local news coverage of a pediatrician who was declining patients if the parents refused vaccinations. I believe this is a perfectly reasonable position for a pediatrician to take. In fact, if a pediatrician does accept anti-vaccine families, he or she has a duty to warn all the other patients in the practice of the increased risk to infants or immunocompromised children from being in that office waiting room.