With an increasing number of people traveling the globe, our world keeps getting smaller and smaller. This is especially true during the holiday season, when an expected seven million Americans will take to the air in the last weeks of the year to celebrate with family and friends. While this makes spending time with far-flung family members much easier, it also increases opportunities for dangerous pathogens to more easily circulate and spread across greater geographic distances.
Measles outbreaks are popping up across the United States. From January 1 to March 7, 2019, 228** individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 12 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. Six outbreaks (defined as 3 or more linked cases) have been reported, in Rockland County, New York; New York City, New York; Washington; Texas; California and Illinois.
While Colorado consistently appears in national news as one of the nation’s top health performers in a variety of measures, childhood immunization rates across the state tell a different story.
“I miss her. I wish she were here.”
On December 1, 2003, Vira Cover experienced what no parent should have to: the death of a child.
Just a week earlier, on Thanksgiving Day, Vira’s 23-month-old daughter, Elizabeth Terese Cover, caught the H1N1 strain of influenza and developed bilateral pneumonia. During the 2003-2004 flu season, 152 children in the U.S. died from flu. Elizabeth was one of them.
Vira shared her and Elizabeth’s story in an interview with the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition.