If there ever was a good advert for vaccination, this could be it. A church in North Texas, whose senior pastor has reportedly been critical of vaccination in the past, has now been implicated in the latest outbreak of measles to hit the US.
While measles has been officially eradicated in the Western Hemisphere, occasional outbreaks of measles continue to spring up, and often in pockets where vaccination rates are low. Such is the case in the outbreak in Tarrant County, Texas, where the current infection count stands at 21 – but that figure is likely to grow as more susceptible individuals come down with the highly contagious virus.
The cases mostly appear to be linked to the Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, where a visitor imported the virus from Indonesia and unwittingly spread it amongst the largely unvaccinated church congregation. At least 12 of the infected individuals had not been fully immunized against measles, while the other patients had no record of receiving the vaccine. "This is a classic example of how measles is being reintroduced," said William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
It's been reported that Terri Pearsons, the church's senior pastor, has previously been critical of the measles vaccine, and that the group advocates faith healing. However, the church has now held several vaccination clinics, with church leaders urging the congregation to get the measles vaccine.
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