INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Approximately 450 children die of measles every day — more than the student body of a typical school in Incline Village.
Measles is a deadly disease that could easily impact our lives if we lived on a different continent and did not have access to appropriate health care. The good news is, however, this disease is easily prevented. For less than a dollar, a child can be safely and effectively vaccinated against measles, making it one of the most cost-effective health interventions available.
Fifty years ago, measles was common in the United States. Today, however, many people have forgotten what can happen as a result of this highly contagious disease. Health complications related to measles include rash, diarrhea, pneumonia, swelling of the brain and blindness, and they can ultimately lead to death.
Measles Awareness Week, a week-long program centered on raising both awareness and funds for Measles Initiative, kicked off earlier this week in Incline Village. The program will culminate Saturday, April 7, with Dots for Shots, an exciting community education and fundraiser event at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Non-Profit Center.
The free event will feature a lecture by Suzanne Gollery of Sierra Nevada College, and a raffle, the prizes of which range from a night’s stay at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, parasailing and lift tickets and various gift baskets donated by local businesses.
Attendees will become educated about the measles epidemic today and myths surrounding measles vaccinations and will also have the opportunity to “take down the last measle” and win raffle prizes. Every dollar raised throughout the week goes directly toward the vaccination of children in developing nations against this deadly virus.
Measles Awareness Week is a small part of a larger global effort to reduce and stop the measles epidemic worldwide, the Measles Initiative.
The Measles Initiative, established in 2001, is a partnership led by the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. It aims at reducing global measles mortality through mass vaccination campaigns and by strengthening routine immunization.
Since 2001, the Measles Initiative has partnered with more than sixty countries to conduct mass vaccination campaigns, strengthen immunization systems and monitor and track the disease.
While significant progress has been made, measles remains a leading cause of death among young children, particularly in developing countries. Do your part to help measles come to an end. Give back to those in need this Easter weekend by joining the American Red Cross for this community event.
Together, with the help of those around our community, we can save a life.