WaPo: Anti-vaccine activists spark a state’s worst measles outbreak in decades

What happens when you mix bigotry with anti-vaccine stupidity? Here is Lena H. Sun from the Washington Post with the, not so shocking, results:

The young mother started getting advice early on from friends in the close-knit Somali immigrant community here. Don’t let your children get the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella — it causes autism, they said.

Suaado Salah listened. And this spring, her 3-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl contracted measles in Minnesota’s largest outbreak of the highly infectious and potentially deadly disease in nearly three decades. Her daughter, who had a rash, high fever and cough, was hospitalized for four nights and needed intravenous fluids and oxygen.

“I thought: ‘I’m in America. I thought I’m in a safe place and my kids will never get sick in that disease,’ ” said Salah, 26, who has lived in Minnesota for more than a decade. Growing up in Somalia, she’d had measles as a child. A sister died of the disease at age 3.

Salah no longer believes that the MMR vaccine triggers autism, a discredited theory that spread rapidly through the local Somali community, fanned by meetings organized by anti-vaccine groups. The activists repeatedly invited Andrew Wakefield, the founder of the modern anti-vaccine movement, to talk to worried parents.

Immunization rates plummeted, and last month the first cases of measles appeared. Soon there was a full-blown outbreak, one of the starkest consequences of an intensifying anti-vaccine movement in the United States and around the world that has gained traction in part by targeting specific communities.

This cocktail of ignorance and condescension from the anti-vaxxer movement is getting people killed, and should be outlawed. 

If you want to be a part of a modern society get your children vaccinated. If someone asks you for proof that vaccines DO NOT cause autism, you can point them here, or here, or to any reputable source on the internet. There is no question about whether or not children - and adults for that matter - should get vaccinated.