In May, Humboldt County will join more than 2,000 U.S. communities for National Toddler Immunization Month to celebrate vaccination’s critical role in protecting children and underscore the importance of fully immunizing children against diseases like whooping cough and measles.
These vaccine-preventable diseases were widespread in California last year. In Humboldt County, 141 cases of whooping cough were reported in 2014, with another 41 cases reported already this year. And while there was only one reported case of measles in the county last year, a large multi-state measles outbreak started at Disneyland and spread to seven additional states and two countries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) there have been 136 cases of measles reported in California since December 2014 with two additional cases reported in April unrelated to the Disneyland outbreak.
Health officials believe timely immunization could have reduced these numbers. “Too many parents dealt with missed work and the trauma of their child being ill or even hospitalized,” said Susan Buckley, public health director for the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services. “We should not risk children’s health when vaccines are widely available.”
The CDC says vaccines are important, particularly against measles:
• Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Africa.
• The majority of people who get measles are unvaccinated.
• Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S.
• Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where there may be groups of unvaccinated people.
“Protecting our children against vaccine-preventable disease like whooping cough or measles is every parent’s responsibility,” said DHHS Immunization Coordinator Susan Wardrip, RN. “Delaying or avoiding immunization can have tragic consequences.”
Wardrip urges parents to make an appointment now with their health care provider. ”Routine infant and toddler immunizations will protect against serious illness in the future, and it’s something easy all parents can do for their children.”
For more information about immunizations, contact Humboldt County Public Health at 707-268-2108.
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