Regarding the May 25 Local Digest item “Measles case reported in Montgomery County”:

The confirmed case of measles in Maryland demonstrates the importance of public awareness about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Unfortunately, perhaps because cases of previously common infectious diseases are no longer the experience of every family, getting a vaccination may seem unnecessary. Public confidence in vaccines has slipped over the past decade, according to a recent survey commissioned by Research!America . Seventy-seven percent of Americans say they are at least somewhat confident in the current system in the United States for evaluating the safety of vaccines and recommendations for when they should be given, a decrease of eight percentage points from 10 years ago. Fifty-nine percent of respondents strongly believe they have benefited from the development of vaccines over the past 50 years, a 16-­percentage-point decrease from 2008.

Communication is an important first step in combating misinformation about the importance of vaccines in keeping infectious disease at bay. We urge all public-health officials and all physicians and health-care providers to have more substantive conversations to encourage individuals young and old to take advantage of the lifesaving benefits of vaccinations.

Mary Woolley, Arlington

The writer is president and chief executive of Research!America.