The media has been full of reports on the Texas mega-church with a measles outbreak because their pastor preaches against vaccination. The irony and coincidence of the situation has caused national news outlets, blogs and others to comment.
The Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark is a division TV evangelist Kenneth Copeland, who advocates faith healing and has talked of his belief in the vaccine-autism link. His daughter Terri Pearsons is the senior pastor at Eagle Mountain. The measles outbreak at the church has infected 21 people ranging in age from 4-months to 44-years old. The majority of the infected people were never vaccinated. Health officials expect the outbreak to grow.
A person who contracted measles in Indonesia visited the church and caused the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) notes that measles is spread by coughing, sneezing and close personal contact. It is recommended that children get two doses of the MMR vaccine, which covers measles, mumps and rubella.
Measles is a highly contagious disease, 90% of people who aren’t vaccinated or immune to it will get sick if exposed to the disease. Symptoms of measles include a fever, cough and rash. The outbreak has led the church to hold vaccination clinics and encourage those who won’t be vaccinated to self-quarantine.
Health officials across the country have taken note and urge precaution. “We don’t take chances with our kids when we have them in a car, we should not take chances with our kids when they’re out in the world,” Dr. Ken Haller of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in Missouri states. “Kids need to be vaccinated. I feel so sorry for these people who got measles down in Texas and I hope none of them end up dying as a result of it.”
“It is really important, as parents, if you have fears for your kid’s safety, for those fears to be rational; the fear of the diseases we’re trying to prevent and not the best means of preventing it,” Dr. Haller adds.
Vaccine Watch encourages everyone to get vaccinated. Diseases like measles are serious and can lead to death – but vaccination is a simple and safe preventative action. Ask your doctor if you have questions about vaccines, don’t depend on the wisdom of the non-medical community or the Internet.