All of this is worth remembering the next time parents who don’t vaccinate their children tell you they’re making a purely personal choice. This is, of course, technically true, in the same sense that driving after having a few beers is a personal choice. As the mother of the 10-month-old hospitalized in San Diego said, if people want to make that choice, they should go live on an island with its own schools and doctors: “Their own little infectious disease island.”
A measles vaccine promises to contain a disease that infected as many as 4 million Americans each year and killed 400-500.
A panel of experts declares measles eliminated in this country.
With 159 measles infections reported between January and August, this year might see the most US cases in more than a decade.
Seth Mnookin is the associate director of MIT’s graduate program in science writing. His most recent book is The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy. Send comments to email@example.com.