VANCOUVER, Wash. – Clark County health officials are warning of misinformation about the measles that’s spreading online.
There are now 31 cases of the measles confirmed in Clark County.
Since the outbreak started, the comment sections on Facebook have lit up. Now, health officials aren’t just battling the outbreak, they’re fighting an information war.
Nathan Webster, a father of four, has noticed it. All of his kids are vaccinated, but he understands where some of the vaccine disagreements come from.
“We live in a time too where information is so readily available, but which ones you choose,” he said.
Dr. Alan Melnick, the Clark County Public Health Director, said misinformation is spreading.
“I think that misinformation is doing a disservice and it’s dangerous,” he said.
The information could possibly keep people from vaccinating themselves or their kids.
One example, some people say measles isn’t deadly. Melnick says that’s false.
“Before the vaccine became available in the ’60s and we started mass vaccination, 400 to 500 people in the U.S. died every year,” Melnick explained.
More recently, 35 people died from measles in Europe, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
In Battle Ground, Dr. Dino Ramzi says some parents are just afraid and don’t know what to believe.
But things could be changing. Since the outbreak, Ramzi says they’re vaccinating more people at his office.
Normally, they do about three a month. Now, it’s up to about five a day.
Ramzi says he’s seen people come in who don’t have any vaccinations. Ramzi is offering free vaccinations to anyone under 18.