The Economic Reality of a Measles Outbreak

The official measles count is up to 121 cases in 17 states, and while there has been much talk about what an awful disease it is and the ramifications of not vaccinating, only a handful of people have talked about costs. Measles is expensive.

The official measles count is up to 121 cases in 17 states, the CDC reported on Monday, and 85% 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 US right now—still means health department tax dollars diverted from other programs to deal with a disease that was eliminated from the US in 2000.

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Source: Forbes