Measles is infecting more and more people here in the U.S.
According to the CDC, 387 people have been diagnosed with measles since the beginning of 2019.
That’s already 15 more measles cases than last year and the most for one year since measles was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.
The CDC blames the measles outbreaks on more parents not getting their children vaccinated and travelers bringing the disease back from foreign countries.
“I was born a long time ago, so we had to get them, and of course I had my kids done,” said Carolyn Johnson of Springfield. “I think people should get them for their kids so they stay safe.”
Measles symptoms include a cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a noticeable rash. The measles virus is highly contagious and it can potentially kill young children with underdeveloped immune systems.
That’s why doctors are urging parents to get their children vaccinated early. Doctors recommend children getting their first dose of the MMR vaccine between 12 and 15 months old and a second dose when they’re between 4 and 6-years-old.
“If you got yourself two doses as a young child, you are essentially protected with life-long immunity,” said Dr. Michael Klatte, pediatric infectious disease physician at Baystate Medical Center.
If you are not sure whether you got the two doses of the measles vaccine, Dr. Klatte said you can ask your primary care doctor for a blood test.
Dr. Klatte said if your child is too young to receive the measles vaccine, you should keep them only around people who you know have been vaccinated.