Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Shock! A bunch of children who weren't vaccinated now have the measles

Shock! A bunch of children who weren't vaccinated now have the measles

As state legislatures work on a bill that would do away with the state's "religious belief" exemption regarding vaccinations, the number of measles cases in Rockland County has risen to 130 since the outbreak began in October. Symptoms can start like any other really bad cold: "a cough, runny nose, not feeling very well, red eyes", he says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared measles "eliminated" from the United States in 2000, but adherents of an anti-vaxx movement, tied in part to concerns over links between vaccines and autism, has led many parents to skip the shot, opening the door to potential infection. Doctors say the disease spreads so quickly because it can linger for hours after an infected person has left the room. More than a half-dozen more cases are suspected, and people who were exposed to the disease travelled to Hawaii and Bend, Oregon, raising the possibility of more diagnoses in the unvaccinated.

People who believe they have these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid contact with other people to void the illness from spreading further. Effective treatments for people with measles are largely limited to drinking lots of fluids, rest, Vitamin A and over the counter pain relievers. One dose of the measles vaccine gives 93 percent lifelong immunity; a second dose between ages 4 and 6 provides 97 percent immunity. "There is no magic bullet cure to fight it". The law passed in 2015 after a measles outbreak at Disneyland sickened 147 people and spread across the US and into Canada.

Health officials said groups with low vaccination rates are most at risk. If exposed to the virus, anyone who is not immune is likely to get measles.

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Patients are contagious four days before and four days after getting the rash. The factually incorrect report was debunked many times over in the years that followed, but that hasn't stopped some parents from choosing to not vaccinate their children against diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella.

People who think they may have the measles should call their health care provider before showing up so the facility can take steps to limit other people's exposure.

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