A Toledo pediatrician‘s office has decided it will no longer accept or treat children whose parents object to them receiving childhood immunizations, a move that comes in the midst of rising concern from the medical community that unvaccinated children are fueling the resurgence of childhood diseases, such as measles, nationally and in Ohio.
Franklin Park Pediatrics sent a letter last week to patients that said they have a year to comply with the new policy. “If you cannot or will not fully vaccinate your child/children by June 1, 2015, please understand that you will choose to leave our practice (seek medical care elsewhere.)”
“Due to recent outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough, and a recent influx of unvaccinated children, we have decided to keep our office a safe environment,” said Dr. John McBride, who is one of six physicians in the Franklin Park Pediatric group that treats more than 14,000 patients.
Dr. McBride said this is a growing trend in pediatric medicine and that several other local doctors have already adopted this policy.
He is most concerned about infants, who are not old enough to be vaccinated, being exposed to childhood diseases in the waiting room when children with no protection come in for treatment.
He said the air in a room is contagious for two hours after someone with measles has left and that people can be contagious before they show any sign of illness.
Measles cause a fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. In rare cases, it can be deadly, and is particularly dangerous for children. Infection can also cause pregnant women to have a miscarriage or premature birth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cases of measles are accelerating across the country and have reached a 20-year high.
In Ohio, there have been 225 confirmed cases of measles as of Wednesday. Measles complications are so serious that seven Ohioans have been hospitalized, making a total of 43 people hospitalized nationwide. The Ohio health department has not been notified of any deaths in the state.