Myths and anti-vaccine movements are just some of the reasons why more people are deciding to forgo important vaccinations. So, it is no surprise that vaccine-preventable diseases have been on the rise.
The reasons for deciding to opt out of vaccines tend to vary. Whether it is due to a health related issue, lack of awareness, or being part of the anti-vaccine movement, a significant percentage of adults and children go unvaccinated, and these were the very people infected in the recent measles outbreak.
Before the measles vaccine, released in 1963, and the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella), developed in 1971, there were about 500,000 cases of measles each year in the United States alone. Of these cases, about 500 people died every year. Since the endemic spread of measles was eliminated in 2000, the number of annual cases has been fairly low. The record was set in 2004 when only 37 cases occurred, and a good portion of that number were unvaccinated travelers. However, with the growing trend of opting out of vaccines, there were 648 confirmed cases in 2014. That number represents the most annual cases since the year 1994.