SANTA MONICA, Calif. - As the number of measles cases continue to grow across the country, not all medical experts are concerned. Doctor Jay Gordon, a pediatrician in Santa Monica, California, believes the outbreak is being over hyped.
"This is definitely being over promoted as a large and dangerous outbreak," said Dr. Gordon. "Right now we don't have that many cases of measles, and we should speak a little more quietly, we're actually panicking people."
Dr. Gordon says the majority of his patients are not vaccinated for measles, mumps or rubella. He has signed hundreds of "personal belief exemptions," which allow parents to bypass laws requiring vaccinations.
"I think that measles could return to the United States if we stop vaccinating," said Gordon. "I'm not advocating that people stop giving the MMR, I'm advocating that parents have the right to choose how and when they get that vaccine."
Even so, Dr. Gordon doesn't believe the CDC's guidelines are appropriate for all patients. The CDC recommends that children get their first dose of the MMR vaccine between the ages of 12 to 15 months. Dr. Gordon believes the first shot shouldn't be given until the child is at least three years old, but admits he has no scientific evidence to support his belief.
"I have no evidence based medicine, there's no research saying that," said Gordon. "I have anecdotal data that has told me that. Anecdotal data does not stand up to public scrutiny. It's easy to attack. I have had, as I've said, many parents tell me that their child has been harmed by the MMR."
In general, Dr. Gordon thinks the value of vaccines has been overstated.
"I think there are some diseases that have decreased in volume because of good hygiene and good health," said Dr. Gordon.
Dr. Gordon says the measles are not to be taken lightly but believes that reports on the current outbreak are wrongly frightening the public.
"The last fatal case of measles in the United States was 11 or 12 years ago," he said. "The complication rate is very low in healthy children."