This is not a piece about whether or not families should choose to vaccinate or not. Instead, it is a review of the current rates of diseases that vaccines are designed to protect against. From a public health stand point, vaccines are designed to protect individuals through a direct immune response to the viruses and bacterium contained within the inoculation, but also via herd immunity. The theory that through high rates of vaccination, those who are unable to be vaccinated due to age, being immune compromised, or previous adverse reaction are also protected from the wild type viruses and bacteria.
In a number of communities including Ashland here in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon, families are choosing no or significantly less vaccines. Leading to less protection for vulnerable individuals because the herd immunity is not as effective, but also there is the risk that non-vaccinated individuals are also at risk for developing a vaccine preventable disease. As a result, it is useful to know what communicable diseases are occurring in the Southern Oregon and surrounding regions so families can make informed choices that protect themselves as well as others from exposure to or illness resulting from a vaccine preventable diseases.
According to the Oregon Health Authorities A Monthly Communicable Disease Surveillance Report for May 2013, there have been 154 cases of pertussis also referred to as whooping cough in the state with 4 of those cases occurring in Jackson County. Additionally, there has been 1 case of tetanus reported as well.
Farther from the Rogue Valley, in Seattle, there have been 2 confirmed cases of measles reported by Public Health- Seattle & King County in Washington state. For individuals who may have been in Seattle or the surrounding areas July 9-10 visit Public Health website for Seattle & King County for more information.
Dr Amanda Hochman
Naturopathic Physician at All Paths Naturopathy & Midwifery LLC