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Ebola, Flu, and Measles – What is Going On?

February 8, 2015
Plain English Version

Ebola mumps measlesOpinion

The world has confronted three health crises in less than a year.

The first was Ebola, which began in West Africa in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. It is a disease transmitted by contact with infected people or animals. It spread quickly, causing a global panic

The U.S. was among the first nations to help. At the same time, there was a growing fear that the virus would spread to people in this country. The governor of New Jersey even went so far as to enforce a quarantine on a health worker who returned from West Africa. Some experts predicted that there would be more than a million deaths from the disease by February 2015.

The second health crisis is a flu epidemic that broke out in December 2013. Experts said the current flu shot formula is not effective against the strain of flu that is going around. Some said flu would become a national crisis.

The measles outbreak that began a few weeks ago in Disneyland in California is the third health crisis. Experts have said measles was cured in the U.S. It turns out that many parents are refusing to get their kids vaccinated (shots). The shots are intended to prevent measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

Parents can refuse to get vaccinations based on religious or other belief grounds. However, schools can refuse to let unvaccinated kids into classrooms. School-based rules differ among states, counties and school systems.

These health crises have a few things in common. First, their prevention requires injections. Some people have a strong fear of needles. Second, they all bring dire predictions of what is going to happen if the outbreak is not stopped.

The news about Ebola is promising. The epidemic is slowing to a trickle. There have been more like 25,000 deaths rather than 1 million. Progress is being made in an Ebola vaccine. Flu is still a problem for this season. No new vaccine is replacing the one in use. For measles, the unvaccinated infecting other, mostly unvaccinated, people are the problem. The cure is vaccination.

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