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Immunize your children

It’s hard to believe we have to do this again, but here goes: There is an active measles outbreak in the Portland area because parents did not vaccinate their children. It is possible new cases could turn up here. If you have children who are old enough to be immunized and they are not, just get it done. Please.

The outbreak stands at 38 cases, most of them in the Vancouver, Washington, area. Thirteen suspected cases await the results of blood tests. Nearly all are children.

Public health officials in Southern Oregon are on high alert for the possibility that new cases could happen here. Measles spreads easily through the air, and the virus can live up to two hours in an isolated space. People who have never been vaccinated are highly susceptible to contracting the disease from an infected person.

What concerns health officials most is low vaccination rates. While in Jackson County as a whole, 93 percent of school-age children have received both doses of vaccine, there are pockets of unvaccinated children in Ashland. At Siskiyou School, only 29 percent of students have received both doses. Officials say a vaccination rate of 92 to 94 percent is necessary to confer herd immunity, protecting those too young or too immune compromised to be vaccinated.

Vaccines do not cause autism, despite slick websites that claim otherwise. What they do is prevent serious childhood diseases.

Getting immunized within three days of exposure can prevent the disease or lessen its symptoms.

Just do it.