Measles outbreak: CDC urges parents to get kids vaccinated
POSTED: Friday, April 25, 2014 - 5:04pm
UPDATED: Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 11:40am
(KETK) - Tyler, Tx — The Centers for Disease Control reports that we have seen the biggest outbreak of measles since 1996. A virus many have written off as a problem of the past, but is one of the leading causes of death among children globally with 122,000 deaths reported in 2012, according to the World Health organization.
The virus causes a highly contagious respiratory disease, and it is now quickly spreading throughout America.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just this year, at least 129 measles cases have been reported in 13 states. The majority of those infected have not been vaccinated.
Doctors say it is the combination of international travel and unvaccinated Americans that is causing this dangerous outbreak.
"It's mostly from people going out of the country, coming back, and bringing it back into the country, back into us," said Sylvia Warren, NET Health Immunization Director. "Since there's so many here that are not immunized, then it gets us too."
Younger children have the highest risk of being infected by the virus, making it important to start their vaccinations early. Children are able to receive their first measles vaccination at 12 months.
"One of the biggest problems is unvaccinated kids," said family medicine doctor at Trinity Mother Frances, Dr. Brent Wadle. "With the measles we just need to vaccinate, we need to make sure were vaccinating as much as we can, as good as we can, educating the public even better than we do."
Symptoms of measles usually start seven to 14 days after a person is exposed to the virus. First, they will get a mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a sore throat. Two or three days later, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. Then, a red rash appears on the face and spreads downward.
"The problem is you can be contagious before you start seeing some of that stuff," Dr. Wadle said. "And that's part of that problem they can be contagious before that."