There is something of a Measles scare in the Washington, D.C. area this week after reports that a woman infected with the disease traveled through DC following a transatlantic flight from London. Our local health department has warned that people who traveled on a certain bus line on February 21st, or ate at a local sandwich shop that day may have been exposed.
This hits close to home, literally. The sandwich place in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of DC is three blocks from my house. It also provides an opportunity to raise awareness about a disease that rarely makes headlines here in the United States, but is still a major killer in much of the world.
Before a global immunization campaign known as the Measles Initiative was founded in 2001, about 750,000 children around the world died from the disease each year. Since then, the number of Measles related deaths dropped by about 78% globally. But, this year, the Initiative is facing a $59 million funding shortfall, which threatens to undermine global progress in the fight against the disease.
It costs less than $1 to vaccinate a child. So how about we use this scare here in Columbia Heights to convince lawmakers down the road to appropriate some funds to help fight this global scourge?!