Measles Outbreak Attributed In Part To Lack Of Vaccination - WSET.com - ABC13

Measles Outbreak Attributed In Part To Lack Of Vaccination

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Lynchburg, VA - A dangerous disease is making a major comeback in parts of the U.S., doctors say in part, because parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated.

Since the start of 2014, more than 120 people have become infected with measles.  A decade ago, doctors had said measles were all but eradicated from the U.S.  But with hundreds of parents refusing to vaccinate their children, it's back, and in a big way.

129 cases of the disease are plaguing 13 states.  CDC officials said this is the worst U.S measles outbreak since 1996.

"They don't understand or they have no personal experience with the severity of these illnesses” said Haley Evans.

Evans is the District Epidemiologist for the Lynchburg Area Health Department.  Contributing to the measles outbreak, she said, are parents not vaccinating their children.

"Maybe they just don't realize how important it is to protect their children against these vaccine preventable diseases” she said.

"Without a doubt in my mind I believe vaccinations triggered Evan's Autism” said Jenny McCarthy in an interview on CNN.

Another contributing factor to the measles outbreak, are celebrities claiming negative side effects of various vaccines.  McCarthy bashed the measles vaccine, and claimed it gave her son autism.

"You ask any mother in the autism community if we'll take the flu, the measles, over autism any day of the week” she said.

Since, the study that suggested a link between the vaccine and autism has been disproven.

"The measles vaccine, the first dose is recommended right at the first birthday and that's also when symptoms of autism become more apparent” said Evans.

The symptoms of measles are severe. They include a soaring fever, rash, and crippling cough and if left untreated, could kill.

"Shots hurt, but they hurt a little bit and these illnesses and diseases are so very serious and life threatening, that a few minutes of tears are well worth the price of protection” said Evans.

Even cost, health officials say is not an excuse; infant vaccines are available for free at health departments across Virginia.  Doctors say nothing is worth not having your child vaccinated.

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