Today Show: 129 U.S. Measles Cases
So far this year there have been 129 cases of measles in 13 states. The outbreak is the biggest to begin a year in nearly two decades, Today Show said. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is urging parents to vaccinate their children.
Today: Measles Epidemic + NYU Dr. Roshini Raj
Measles was eradicated in the U.S. back in 2000, so Matt Lauer couldn’t help but ask: is this the beginning of a national health crisis or is it being blown out of proportion? Dr. Roshini Raj with the NYU Langone Medical Center explained that the outbreak is most definitely alarming.
“Before we had a widespread vaccination program, we were receiving 5,000 cases a year,” Dr. Raj said. “Once vaccination became more widespread, it was about 60 cases a year. Now in the first four months of this year, we’re already over 120.”
Those numbers are considered an outbreak or an epidemic. California has 58 measles cases, New York has 26, and Washington State has 13. So is there a pattern when looking at these states?
Today Show: Measles in New York & California?
“When you think about states like California and New York,” Dr. Rah said. “First of all just the population is bigger but also people that are traveling international tend to come to these places.”
Dr. Rah also added that “unfortunately some of the more ‘sophisticated states’ are where some parents are thinking maybe they don’t need to vaccinate their children, which is a mistake.”
Today: Low Immunization Rates
In California, 25 of the 58 infected people had not been immunized and 19 of those 25 were not immunized because of philosophical reasons.
Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said, “The low rate of immunization is because of rumors and conspiracy theories” and “young parents today haven’t seen these diseases, and they don’t respect and fear them.”
“People don’t think of these diseases as deadly, but they can be,” Dr. Raj said on Today Show. She said that measles, mumps, and whooping cough are diseases that really should not be around anymore if people are getting the vaccines that they should be getting.
Today Show: Doctor Training for Old Diseases
Another big concern is that young doctors may not be trained to recognize the symptoms of these diseases because they haven’t been around in a while.
“It’s tough,” Dr. Raj explained. “We learn about it in medical school but if you don’t see something often you’re not going to be thinking about that first off when you see a patient.”
Outbreaks like this come as a wake-up call for doctors and training programs to recognize the symptoms of these diseases.
Today: Measles Symptoms
Measles symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat; red eyes, conjunctivitis; tiny white spots in mouth; red dot rash on face.
Once you’re infected with the virus, these symptoms usually present themselves within seven to 10 days, but the problem is that it sounds like a typical cold. The main difference is the rash that starts in the face and goes through the entire body.
The CDC says to get your children vaccinated. The CDC MMR vaccination recommendations are to get the first dose at 12 months of age and the second dose between four and six years old.