In spite of the nation's health experts insisting that measles remains preventable and "eminently eliminatable," the United States is experiencing a spike in the disease, with more than 98 percent of the patients unvaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there have been 175 confirmed cases and 20 hospitalizations so far this year, nearly three times the usual number of cases of measles.
"This is an eminently controllable, eminently eliminatable childhood viral infection," said William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. "The fact that measles continues to spread is an ongoing tragedy."
In December 2011, Boise Weekly chronicled the number of families in Idaho, particularly in and around Idaho's Panhandle, that choose not to immunize their children. (BW, News, "Idaho's Epidemic of Fear," Dec. 14, 2011).
"It's a mindset. We have had vaccination opponents here for many, many years. It goes way back," Cynthia Taggart, public information officer of the Panhandle Health District told BW. "Idahoans want freedom of choice in everything. And, well, this is their choice. We don't argue with them, but we do tell them that their choice has consequences. That's really all we can do."