- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A medical professional who works as a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said in a recent interview that it’s not illegals who are to blame for the recent spread of measles in the country — it’s wealthy and “misguided” parents.

“I’ve heard stuff on the Internet — ‘Oh, the illegals are bringing it.’ Malarkey,” William Schaffner, who’s also a past president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said in a “Newsmax TV” interview with Ed Berliner. “It’s our well-to-do parents who are withholding [vaccines from] children, taking them abroad on a vacation. They get sick abroad, bring it home and spread it to their friends.”

The measles outbreak this year has spread to 17 states and affected about 121 people, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The federal agency also links about 85 percent of the cases this year to a single infected individual at Disneyland in Southern California, Newsmax reported.

“We got this point, obviously, because upper-middle-class moms who are very well-educated and computer-savvy and want to do things in the natural way never experienced measles, aren’t afraid of it, don’t value the vaccines, go to the Internet, find all kinds of malarkey … and therefore withhold their children from vaccination,” Dr. Schaffner said, Newsmax reported.

The best way to clamp the spread of measles was to bolster laws — to mandate immunizations with regulations that “do not provide for personal belief or, frankly, religious objections,” he told the news show.

Dr. Schaffner also said that those doctors who discourage vaccinations should be made to feel “very uncomfortable,” Newsmax reported.

“There’s always a few who are discouraging vaccination,” he said. “They need to be called to account.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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