Measles DangersMeasles, a vaccine-preventable and highly contagious disease, is making a comeback in Vietnam-and killing people. This year there have been thousands of cases of measles and at least 112 of the dead are children. According to Takeshi Kasai of the World Health Organization (WHO), “This virus is very infectious and difficult to control.”

Vietnam, like the U.S., has had high rates of vaccination. But, again like the U.S., parents have read scare-tactic stories about vaccine side effects and don’t vaccinate their children. They mistakenly believe the risks from the vaccine are greater than from the disease.

Measles is particularly deadly for young children. The problem is that the vaccine isn’t very effective in children under nine months old, the group of children who most need the protection. By vaccinating older children, the herd immunity is strong, and young children are protected from the disease.

According to the WHO, in 2000 around 562,000 children died from measles. By 2012, due to vaccination programs, the number who died globally fell to 122,000.

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From issue: 29/09-10