Recent news reports about outbreaks of Measles across the country have public health officials concerned about the spread of this vaccine-preventable disease. More information is available here: CDC Measles Outbreaks Link.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Measles cases are occurring primarily due to travelers who get Measles abroad and bring it into the U.S. It is further spread in communities where there are pockets of unvaccinated individuals. It is important to note that Measles is a respiratory virus that is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. It can have serious consequences in both children and adults.
Many people have feared vaccinations in recent years due to the belief that vaccines, particularly the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism in children. Social media has continued to spread the misinformation regarding the MMR and other vaccines causing autism. And this has fueled a large antivaccination movement, which in turn has caused the large-scale outbreaks of measles. Information regarding the MMR vaccine and autism is available from the CDC here: Link. The research that was published supporting this link has been debunked, and new large-scale studies support the belief that there is not a link between vaccines and autism. The most recent published study is linked here: Link.
Even more recently, it has been reported that a young boy who did not receive his tetanus vaccine (Tdap), contracted tetanus and the ensuing cost of treating the illness had a huge price tag – not to mention that he could have lost his life. More information about this story is available here: Link.
It is very important to rely on health information from credible sources, such as the CDC and the World Health Association (WHO), rather than social media sites. Dental professionals can help patients and parents of children by directing them to these information sources if they are questioning the importance of vaccines.
In addition, dental professionals may be susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases, such as Measles. Unvaccinated patients and patients who may have been exposed to Measles and other infectious diseases may be seen in the dental office without even knowing that they are infectious.
The bottom line is to rely on information from trusted, credible resources and know what types of vaccines that you should have as an adult who is a health care provider. That information is available from the CDC: Link.
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Mary Govoni, CDA, RDH, MBA
Mary is an internationally recognized speaker, author and consultant, working with dental teams for over 40 years on clinical efficiency, infection prevention, ergonomics, and team communication.