More parents who opt out of the Vaccines for Measles



Columbia, SC (WLTX) – After more than 20 years, medical officials of the state confirmed the first case of measles in the state of Palmetto earlier this month.

This is because more families in South Carolina choose not to vaccinate their children.

In early August, a resident of Georgetown County contracted the measles. Measles is a highly contagious, viral respiratory disease known to cause fever, fatigue, cough, runny nose and characteristic rash.

"These are red spots that then coalesce to form larger spots, usually starting in the hairline, going down to the face, neck, torso and lower extremities," said Dr. Lauren Matthews of Lexington Pediatric Practice in West Columbia.

Matthews says that the measles are so contagious, if someone walks around with the disease, 9 out of 10 people will catch it if they are not protected.

The virus, which spreads through droplets and air contact, can also stay alive on a surface for up to two hours.

"Knowing that, it's easy to see how it can be spread through amusement parks or through busy areas, airports, places like that," Matthews said.

Nationwide, there are 124 confirmed cases of measles this year. Compare that with the 118 last year.

The worst year this decade was in 2014 when there were almost 700 cases.

"In 2000, the CDC considered the eradication of measles in the United States," Matthews said. "This is largely due to the strong vaccination program."

Doctors say that the only best way to protect yourself against measles is the MMR vaccine, which also protects against mumps and rubella.

"Children usually receive their first dose between 12 and 15 months, after which they receive a second dose between 4 and 6 years," Matthews said. "We know that if you get both doses of the vaccine, it is 97% effective."

But recently more families have decided not to vaccinate their children, even if it is compulsory in public schools.

DHEC reports that the number of children who have not been vaccinated in the past five years has grown by 4.666 among parents who were religiously dependent. The number of children who had not been vaccinated due to religious reasons in the 2017-18 school year was approximately 9,427. That is 1.18 percent of the nearly 800,000 children who are enrolled.

Matthews says that some parents may postpone the vaccine, while others refuse to believe that the vaccine can cause autism.

"[20 to 30 years ago], there was a bad article from the UK that linked the MMR vaccine to autism, "Matthews said. Because of all that, we still see ramifications of people who say they do not want the vaccine because it causes autism. Unfortunately, that was a bad doctor who challenged bad science, and we are still doing it now … The MMR is very safe. It is not linked to autism and it is the best way to protect against measles, mumps and rubella. "

Matthews adds that, although there are side effects to vaccines, these are usually rare and very mild. These side effects may include redness and pain at the injection site and fever for 1 to 2 days.

Although cases of measles do not occur too often in the United States, the disease is still present throughout the world. Asia, Africa, Europe and the Pacific had recent outbreaks.

"If a person travels to that country and is not vaccinated and then returns, they bring it back with them," Matthews said. "Or if a person from that country travels to the United States and is contagious and does not know they have the virus, we have now brought it into a community where not everyone can be vaccinated."

Doctors also tell us that children younger than 5 years and adults over 20 usually suffer from complications with the measles. 1 in 4 who contract the disease is admitted to the hospital.

"Some of the more serious effects of measles are brain swelling, which can cause permanent brain damage," Matthews said. "Of every 1,000 children who contract the measles, one or two is really dead, the most common cause of death from measles is pneumonia."

Doctors say that you can get the measles vaccine at any time, and most of the measles cases that we have in the US come from an unvaccinated person.

© 2018 WLTX


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