Measles is on the rise in the U.S. More than 100 people nationwide have been diagnosed in January alone.
This is leading schools and states to look at their policies regarding when to allow vaccination exemptions. On this River to River segment, Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa's State Epidemiologist, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, as well as Susie Poulton, health director for the Iowa City Community School District.
Dr. Quinlisk says that most of Iowa's young children and adults are vaccinated and protected against the measles, as well as those over the age of 58.
"If you were born before 1957, chances are you are immune just because there was so much measles going around; you basically could not have made it through childhood without having measles," Quinlisk says.
But she cautions that adults between the ages of 43 and 58 may not be as protected.
"People born between 1957 and 1972 may not have had measles and may not have ever been vaccinated, and that’s why you’re seeing most of the people around this outbreak associated with Disneyland are actually adults within that age range."
Ben Kieffer also talks with Lila Ruch, an Iowan who remembers life before vaccines. She not only survived having measles, but also whooping cough, the mumps, and polio.
“It’s a big mistake not to have vaccines required," Ruch says. "Vaccines are miracles for children.”