Recent developments should reinforce the notion that media coverage is not a correlation to the incidence of disease.
While the measles outbreak in California hadn’t been in the news since April, when state officials declared it over, measles wasn’t eliminated from the country. As of June 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted 178 cases of measles reported in 2015. Just 117 of them were connected to the California outbreak (which started in late 2014). And today Washington state health officials reported a death from measles, the first reported death from the disease in the United States since 2003. As the disease was once eliminated from the U.S., its reemergence reflects its persistence – and the continued resistance to vaccination.
Unfortunately, the 2014 Ebola outbreak has yet to produce a viable vaccine, and while it has dimmed from American attention, it continues to affect western Africa. Cases continue in Sierra Leone and Guinea, and re-emerged in Liberia – more than three months after the last reported case. Meanwhile the person appointed by the Obama Administration to coordinate the nation’s response to Ebola left that position four months ago.
So, just remember that because we’ve stopped paying attention doesn’t mean a problem has been solved. It just no longer bothers us enough to do something.