Oregon health officials say the number of parents filing non-medical vaccine exemptions in the state has been steadily climbing since 2000, and they fear some children who have not been immunized against childhood illnesses could be at risk for serious diseases.
The Register-Guard reports the increase in non-medical exemptions can multiply the likelihood of an outbreak of a disease.
Lane County Senior Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke says there was a whooping cough outbreak earlier this year in Lane County schools, resulting in 250 cases of the disease in 50 schools scattered across the county.
Luedtke says several countries in Europe have seen their vaccination rates drop below 80 percent and are now experiencing major outbreaks of diseases. He says Italy recently had an outbreak of 5,000 cases of measles that included some deaths.