Will some diseases rise if children are not vaccinated?

Pediatrician Lawrence Ross, MD Infectious Disease, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, explains how viruses can spread very easily if a rate for immunization is too low, and what the immunization rates should be to keep diseases from rising
Will Some Diseases Rise If Children Aren't Vaccinated?
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Will some diseases rise if children are not vaccinated?

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The vaccines that we give for diseases like measles, for German measles, which is rubella, for mumps, for whooping cough, are very effective when we have the rates of vaccination very high. We call this herd immunity, meaning that we prevent transmission in the community and exposing people who may not be protected by vaccine. However, when our rates of immunization get low, the virus is spread very, very easily. In the case of pertussis cough or whooping cough, we're talking about a germ, not a virus, but we must maintain very high rates. Whenever those rates get low, we've had exposures, particularly, for example with measles this past year. Where in schools where the rates of immunization were below 90 or 95 percent, if a patient brought back measles from another country, they would then have an epidemic within that school. So, it is true that if we don't maintain very high immunization rates, we do see outbreaks. It's kind of a challenge because what happens is as a parent you say, "There's not any measles around, why do I have to continue to give them the vaccine?" The answer is, it is around just not in our community right now because we've had our rates very high.

Pediatrician Lawrence Ross, MD Infectious Disease, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, explains how viruses can spread very easily if a rate for immunization is too low, and what the immunization rates should be to keep diseases from rising

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Lawrence Ross, MD

Pediatrician, Infectious Disease, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Dr. Lawrence A. Ross is a pediatrician and expert in infectious diseases.  He has been a full-time member of the Division of Infectious Disease at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles since 1978 and has served as Hospital Infection Control Officer as well as the Chairperson of the Infection Control Committee for 20 years.  He is also a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.  Dr. Ross graduated from the University of Illinois and subsequently attended medical school at the Chicago Medical School in Chicago. He completed residency training in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, followed by fellowships in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California School of Medicine. From 1981-1985, Dr. Ross served as the coordinator of the intern and residency program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. His areas of interest have included epidemiology of nosocomial infections as well as clinical aspects of care for patients with immune compromising diseases including patients with HIV infection. 

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