Measles cases rise: Is it time to get vaccinated?

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Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can have detrimental health effects on children and people with compromised immune systems but is easily preventable through vaccination.

Arizona currently has three reported cases of measles, and with a high rate of unvaccinated children, health experts are warning its likely to keep rising.

Arizona law is seen to be lax on the subject, and the law makes it possible for parents to opt out of vaccinations for children for any reason. Also, getting your child vaccinated is more difficult. Will Humble, the Executive Director of Arizona Public Health Association, explained it’s been getting harder for parents to get their kids vaccinated.

Humble said Arizona Department of Health Services over-regulated vaccines for children providers over the last few years, and many quit the program, which evolved into pediatric providers no longer offering vaccines during their well child visits. County health departments now have long waiting periods for kids to get vaccinated in some counties as they try to provide the service.

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases, which is why this is so troubling.

“All it takes is for some unvaccinated people to walk through a room that a person who was spreading the virus was in two hours ago, and they will almost certainly come down with measles,” said Humble.

The measles cases discovered so far in Arizona have been limited, but if the virus leaks into Yavapai, Maricopa, and Mohave counties and gets a toe-hold among school aged kids, we’ll have a cascade of cases. According to Humble, vaccination rates in these counties are extremely low.

Measles symptoms according to Centers for Disease Control:

  • High fever
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Tiny white spots (Kolpik spots) may appear inside the mouth two to three days after symptoms begin
  • Rash break outs

Will Humble, Executive Director of Arizona Public Health Association

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