Doctors urge measles vaccine after recent outbreaks - WRBL

Doctors urge measles vaccine after recent outbreaks

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 159 cases of measles so far this year. If the trend continues 2013 will be the worst year for measles since 1996. Doctors are urging people to get the vaccine.

In 2000, measles was thought to be completely eradicated in the United States but with the increase in international travel and objections to vaccines, the virus has made a strong comeback throughout the country.

Fever, coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose. The symptoms look a lot light the common cold but can be much more severe. Measles is a viral illness that doctors say is very contagious.

"Here's the catcher. It's contagious before they know they have measles maybe 4 days before and up to 4 days after because the symptoms come first and the rash comes later," said Dr. Beverly Townsend.

Dr. Ritu Chandra said the respiratory illness can be prevented with a simple vaccine.

"If you get the vaccine then you protect the child who's getting the vaccine and everyone around that child," said Dr. Chandra. She said some parents are hesitant to get their children vaccinated because of bad information but she said it is the right thing to do.

"The vaccine is effective. It's safe. It does not have any major side effects and it's good for your child. Getting the measles is not a fun illness.

Dr. Beverly Townsend at the Columbus Health Department said the long term consequences of measles can be serious.

"It's not something to be taken lightly because the long term complications can include getting into the brain. It can cause seizures, convulsions," said Dr. Townsend.

Both doctors urge people to vaccinate their children and the Health Department also offers travel vaccines for those headed outside of the country. Dr. Chandra said there are 20 million cases of measles every year outside of the United States so if you're leaving the country you definitely want to get the vaccine.

The Columbus Health Department offers the vaccine along with local physicians.

You can visit the health department online at www.columbushealth.com for more information.

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