Health

Measles Outbreak in Dollars and Cents: It Costs Taxpayers Bigtime

Pediatrician Charles Goodman vaccinates 1 year-old Cameron Fierro with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR vaccine at his practice in Northridge, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015.   Some doctors are adamant about not accepting patients who don't believe in vaccinations, with some saying they don't want to be responsible for someone's death from an illness that was preventable. Others warn that refusing treatment to such people will just send them into the arms of quacks. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Pediatrician Charles Goodman vaccinates 1 year-old Cameron Fierro with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR vaccine at his practice in Northridge, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

 

(Forbes) – The official measles count is up to 121 cases in 17 states, the CDC reported on Monday, and 85 percent of those resulted from the outbreak stemming from the Disneyland exposure. That’s more cases than were seen in all of 2012 – and it’s only February.

Much virtual ink has been spilled in the past several weeks about what an awful disease measles can be, about the impact of irresponsible doctors’ advice, and about the ramifications of not vaccinating on those unable to be vaccinated.

But only a handful of folks have talked about costs. Measles is expensive. Really expensive. And even if you live in a highly vaccinated area with no outbreaks, a measles case in your state – that’s a third of the U.S. right now – still means health department tax dollars diverted from other programs to deal with a disease that was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000.

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