Across the world, there has been a call against childhood vaccines, claiming that they’re linked to various mental health issues. However, vaccines exist for a reason. Look at the current situation in Europe, where an outbreak of measles, a disease that can be prevented by vaccination, has infected thousands and killed more than 30 people in the past year.
Measles is a highly infectious disease, which can spread from person to person by breathing contaminated air or touching an infected surface. Symptoms may begin with a high fever, followed by a rash. It’s a potentially serious disease that can lead to potentially disastrous complications, such as pneumonia or encephalitis. It often affects younger children, making it that much more troubling. One of the most recent measles deaths, for example, was a 6 year-old in Italy, who died in June. While this outbreak began in 2016, the number of measles cases in Europe has jumped this year, particularly in Italy, where vaccine coverage for measles has been in a steady decline due in large part to the rise of anti-vaccine movements across Europe.
But measles isn’t plaguing just Italy, and in response to outbreaks at home the Romanian, Italian, and German governments have all implemented laws requiring vaccinations. Portugal has also reported an outbreak, but has yet to implement any measures. Considering that all of the European countries that have reported infections, with the arguable exception of Romania, are popular tourist destinations, there’s a huge potential for this measles outbreak to spread to Europe and beyond. Germany and Italy are all well-established vacation spots for American tourists, and Portugal is becoming more popular. Considering that the anti-vaccination movement is gaining traction in the US, it goes without saying that this could spread pretty easily. That’s why it’s so important for children to get their vaccinations.