Guess what's back? Measles. Really.
This shouldn't be. The dangerous trend of not vaccinating children is leading to an uptick in a highly preventable disease that was all but eradicated in Southern California. Children are needlessly suffering from the misinformation campaigns about the supposed, and mostly denounced, dangers of vaccines.
There's a real threat here in Orange County, which, as the Los Angeles Times reported, has had the biggest outbreak of measles of any county in the state. Many of the cases are said to be in wealthier South County communities.
There are some 22 cases — not all of them children, we should note — in O.C. Without interviewing the parents, we cannot say for sure why they didn't get their children vaccinated, but we suspect that the erroneous belief that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism is at least partially to blame.
It doesn't, as the Centers for Disease Control reported in 2013, but the myth persists — where else? — online.
Making matters worse, California has an easy opt-out policy for parents who don't want to immunize their tykes. That policy should be strengthened for the sake of the children being put at risk for easily preventable illnesses.
"We know that there is a vigorous anti-vaccine movement in this country," Dr. Matt Shan, medical director for epidemiology at the Orange County Health Care Agency, told The Times. "So events like this are difficult, but they're important to highlight because we want to make sure people realize that there's reason that you need to get your child vaccinated."
So take the doctor's advice. Listen to the folks at the CDC. Do the right thing. Take your kids to get their shots.