As CDC warns of increase in measles cases, Tennessee Valley doctor urges parents to stay vigilant


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HUNTSVILLE Ala. — More than 100 cases of measles have been diagnosed this year across the country, including Tennessee and Florida. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said these rates are high compared to recent years.

In just the first half of this year, the CDC has recorded almost as many cases of measles as it did in all of 2017.

From January 1 to July 14, the CDC recorded 107 measles patients across in 21 states and Washington D.C. Compared to 2017, where the CDC recorded 118 cases in 15 states throughout the entire year.

While just over 100 cases may not like many, doctors said that because the virus is so contagious, every case must be carefully monitored.”

“The virus can linger in the air for six to eight hours,” said Dr. JoAnn Johnson a pediatrician at Over the Rainbow Pediatrics.

It is so contagious that if one person has it, the CDC said 90% of the people close to them who are not immune will become affected.

“Measles comes from that Latin word for miserable. So any child that gets measles is very miserable with high fever, terrible rash,” said Dr. Johnson.

Measles is a contagious virus that spreads through the air from coughing and sneezing. Symptoms like a fever, rash, stuffy nose or reddened eyes typically disappear own their own after two or three weeks. But some people may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia and brain swelling which could result in hospitalization or death.

Dr. Johnson said parents must vaccinate their children against it.

“Like they’re supposed to get 2, 4, and 6 months and not delay vaccines,” she said. “It really doesn’t make any sense to delay vaccines.”

The CDC said that one or two of every thousand children who get measles will die from complications. They said the majority of people who have gotten sick in recent years have been unvaccinated so they recommend that your’s and your family’s vaccinations are up to date. Anyone with measles is considered contagious from four days before to four days after the rash appears.