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Bigger issues than measles

In the last two weeks, there has been a surge of media coverage concerning the alleged measles “epidemic” in Western Washington.

Small outbreaks like these are common every year. In 2018, there were 372 cases of measles in the United States.

Before 1963, there were 3-4 million cases of measles a year. Due to advancements in vaccinations, there are now only a few hundred cases every year, with only 11 deaths occurring since 2000.

Firearms are the second leading cause of death in U.S. children. In 2016, 3,140 childhood gun deaths occurred. 60 percent of these deaths were homicides, 35 percent were suicides and 4 percent accidental. The American Academy Of Pediatrics has declared that the safest home for a child is a home without firearms.

It is estimated that 21 percent of pediatricians and 4 percent of family physicians will refuse care to children whose families decline to vaccinate their children. I am saddened by these statistics regarding my fellow physicians. Should we also refuse to care for patients who have a firearm in their household?

It may be worth focusing our attention on issues that have a larger impact on childhood wellness.

Dr. Clay Kersting


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