Health officials said today that a D.C. man was diagnosed with measles late last week, prompting authorities to retrace the his steps throughout the area to identify anyone else who may have exposed to the highly infectious disease and prevent it from spreading further.
This is the fifth case of measles in the region this year, but it is not related to the other cases. Still, the rare outbreak has prompted health officials in the District, Virginia and Maryland to focus on the small pockets of unimmunized individuals: Mostly, babies who have not yet been vaccinated and people who were born outside the U.S.
The District man contracted the virus during a three-week trip to India but did not show symptoms until after he returned home, said D.C. Department of Health Director Pierre Vigilance. Doctors believe the man's wife also has measles but they are still awaiting test results. Vigilance said the man had never been immunized, but wouldn't comment on his citizenship or why he had not been immunized.
Over at Little Green Footballs, Charles Johnson has been posting stories about people who don't get there children vaccinated because of concerns that the mercury in the vaccinations may cause autism. Some of the commenters have noted that in some Islamic communities, people are also suspicious of vaccinations.
This Washington Post article indicates that there is a problem of adults who have not been vaccinated because they are from countries where vaccinations are not normative. The Washington Post article does say that vaccinations are required to get citizenship and for children entering public school. I think most private schools also require the vaccinations.