AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) News 3 sat down with Dr. Frederick Kam, Executive and Medical Director of the Auburn University Medical Clinic, to discuss the recent measles outbreak and share advice with our viewers.
Dr. Kam discusses why children under 18-months are most at risk because they aren’t old enough to get vaccinated. Dr. Kam also shares the latest recommendations for those of us wondering if we are protected in case of an outbreak in our community.
“The measles vaccine became widely available back in the early ’60s. So, right now recommendations are if you were born in 1957 or before there’s a very high likelihood that you’ve had the disease (and you have a natural immunity) Right now the challenge is for people who were born between 1957 and the early ’60s. For those people if they know they have had the measles they are fine. If they are not sure, there are two options. First, get a blood titer done to see if you have protective antibodies if you got vaccinated or if you’ve already had the disease. The second option is to go ahead and get a booster,” shared Dr. Kam.
The CDC says one dose of the measles vaccine, known as the MMR vaccine, is about 93-percent effective at preventing measles. Dr. Kam says the AU Medical Clinic has received numerous calls from concerned residents wondering about the outbreak and how to protect themselves. They have also given several boosters to people who have decided now is the time to get vaccinated.
The CDC says the number of measles cases in 2019 is already the second-greatest number of cases reported in the United States since the disease was thought to be eradicated in 2000. Since early May, 764 confirmed cases of measles had been reported in 23 states. A presumptive case in Alabama remains under investigation.
Dr. Kam’s full interview with News 3 is shared above. In less than 10 minutes Dr. Kam covers several vital questions many families have regarding measles. He discusses the signs and symptoms, treatment, who’s the most at risk, when to get vaccinated and how AU would handle a possible outbreak. However, Dr. Kam says he does not lose sleep about an outbreak on campus because most students unless they are exempt, are required to be vaccinated. Dr. Kam did discuss an outbreak on AU’s school several years ago, that led to a robust vaccination program and requirements.
Dr. Kam does worry about younger children who have not been vaccinated yet contracting this virus, saying it can cause loss of eyesight, hearing and a host of other concerns and secondary conditions including death. Dr. Kam is urging everyone to get vaccinated, explaining the medical community has proven time and time again vaccines are not related to Autism.