The spread of vaccine-preventable diseases is a growing problem in our community. Diseases that were once rare are making a strong comeback because of vaccine fears.
The fears some hold to be true about vaccines are completely and utterly false. Scientific data and research rejects a link between vaccines and disorders such as autism. Vaccines do not cause illnesses. However, not being vaccinated leads to widespread epidemics and outbreaks of disease.
Of the diseases surging back, pertussis — or whooping cough — is a major problem here in La Crosse and statewide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wisconsin has the highest incidence rate for pertussis in the nation.
Locally, drastic increases of pertussis cases have been reported in the past two years. Whooping cough primarily affects infants and young children, and it can be fatal.
What can be done to combat this rapidly growing problem? Parents can start by making sure their children are up-to-date on regular vaccinations. We are all at risk of illness when parents decide not to vaccinate their children, especially young children and the elderly who are more susceptible to disease than any other group.
A security blanket of vaccinated people must be created to protect those who cannot be vaccinated. Infants younger than 2 months cannot be vaccinated along with those who have weakened immune systems. It is imperative that children are vaccinated to prevent the spread of diseases and protect the general public.