Measles was eliminated in the United States in 2000 – nearly 20 years ago. So how is it making a comeback? Vaccine hesitancy began to spread about that time thanks to a faulty study published in a medical journal that was later retracted, but unfortunately the damage had been done. Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy began spreading misinformation about vaccines and strongholds of anti-vax parents began to pop up in affluent neighborhoods all over the United States. The advent of social media made it even easier to spread misinformation, and in recent years it has even been confirmed that Russia is fueling the anti-vax misinformation campaigns. How can we fight back against such organized and hostile misinformation campaigns?
Companies like Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube have taken steps to ensure misinformation is not given the same weight as correct, proven information — often by adding warnings to incorrect content. Getting folks to the correct information is only one side of this battle, though.
There are also lots of people in the United States who may believe they are immune to measles but are not fully. Poor medical history knowledge, receiving a weaker vaccine as a child, and receiving only one vaccine as a child are more common than you think.
If you are unsure whether you are immune to measles, you can request a blood test called a titer from your medical provider. Learn more about the spread of measles from the infographic below.