Measles outbreak sparks concern over anti-vaccination movement

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Discovering even one case of measles in Arizona would be considered a public health emergency for the state.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, says the response would be immediate.

"Upon finding and verifying that there is a measles case in Arizona, we activate our emergency operations center," she said.

The plan includes bringing on board their healthcare partners, like county health departments.

"To investigate to identify maybe where they went right away so that we can start notifying the public, you know, that these places you may have been exposed to measles," Christ said.

Even though Arizona does not currently have a reported case of measles, the state has one of the highest rates of exemptions for at least one vaccine that's required for childcare, kindergarten or sixth grade.

The decision not to vaccinate is one that many in the medical field, including Dr. Bill Mostow, strongly disagrees with, as it can leave that population vulnerable to diseases like the measles.

"The anti-vax movement is based on doctors and so-called experts pandering to people's feelings," he said. "The science is completely clear that childhood vax are not only good because they prevent all of these horrible illnesses, but they are also completely safe."

Dr. Christ says with little exception for individuals who can't get vaccinated, vaccinations are key to preventing and outbreak of infectious diseases like measles.

She says everyone should have access for little to no cost.

"There should be no barriers, you can get immunizations without paying, you can go to sliding-fee scales, you can go to the county health departments," she said. "We try to make vaccines as prevalent as possible because of how important vaccination is."

Arizona Dept. of Health Services Measles Information