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Wall Street Journal, Forbes Examine Global Implications Of Measles Outbreak In Wales

The Wall Street Journal examines a recent outbreak of measles in Wales, discussing the backlash in the U.S. and U.K. against immunizations following allegations that vaccines were linked to autism — a theory which has since been disproved — as well as the implications for global health. The outbreak, which has sickened more than 1,200 people in Wales, “presents a cautionary tale about the limits of disease control,” the newspaper writes, and notes, “Most measles occurs in developing countries. But it is resurging in some of the very countries that have led global campaigns against it.” The newspaper continues, “The outbreak matters to the rest of the world because measles can quickly cross oceans, setting back progress elsewhere in stopping it” (Whalen/McKay, 7/19).

In a Forbes opinion piece responding to the Wall Street Journal article, Forbes contributor Emily Willingham writes, “One of the most common refrains people repeat in arguing against vaccinating their children is that diseases like measles simply aren’t their problem. That virus, they say, is a ‘third world’ or ‘developing world’ problem, something to worry about in places where water isn’t clean and nutrition is poor.” However, she continues, “the Wall Street Journal story makes an important point — one that yes, has been made ad nauseam but bears repeating: In this global society, there are no ‘first’ and ‘third’ worlds.” She adds, “People who forego measles vaccination likely forego other vaccinations as well, including immunization against slower-moving but even deadlier diseases like diphtheria and pertussis. In other words, measles outbreaks might simply be the beginning of something even more serious” (Willingham, 7/21).