CoxHealth leaders encourage parents to vaccinate children against measles
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -The Centers Disease Control issued a new warning the measles virus could become a global threat. The report stated measles is a growing threat to children after 22 million babies did not receive a full MMR vaccine.
If a child contracts measles, it could be deadly. The disease can lead to brain swelling and respiratory damage. While health care providers do not see an increase in cases, it could be a problem for those who plan to travel over the holidays.
“It’s technically eliminated in the United States has been so since the year 2000,” said CoxHealth Infectious Disease Director Neal DeWoody. “This means there’s no continuous transmission of that virus within our borders. Now that’s still brought in from other countries, so people who go abroad and travel, bring it back. Then what the determining factor of whether or not spreads depends a lot upon vaccination.”
According to the report, there was an increase in cases between 2017-2019 and a decrease in cases in 2020. Experts believe measles cases might have been underreported in 2020 because of reductions in health care–seeking behavior from patients, health facility availability and reporting, or overall pandemic-related health system disruptions. Local health leaders are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated to prevent a local outbreak.
“It’s important because they are the most susceptible to severe illness that severe illness can include encephalopathy, which is brain swelling, which can lead to long term brain damage,” said Dewoody. “Then they can also either there’s also a chance of death and from either the respiratory side of it or the neurological side effects.”
While there are side effects to the vaccine, health leaders say it is better than becoming sick.
“Side effects of the vaccine tend to imitate the virus that it is trying to defeat,” said DeWoody. “You tend to get milder versions, inflammation kind of things when you get this vaccine. So you could see basically a mild version of the actual virus symptoms where you would say like mild fever, muscle aches kind of thing like that, generally speaking.”
Children should receive the first dose of the vaccine between the ages of 12-15 months. If you have concerns, you are encouraged to contact your healthcare provider.
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