Doctors: Keep vaccinating for measles

Doctors: Keep vaccinating for measles
Jacqueline Jenkins
Jacqueline Jenkins
Phoebe Putney Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steve Kitchen
Phoebe Putney Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steve Kitchen

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Doctors in Southwest Georgia are encouraging you to get vaccinations after a measles outbreak spreads to another state. The United States is in the middle of the worst measles outbreak in nearly a decade.

The outbreak started in Disneyland and has since spread to 14 states; most recently in Illinois. Officials say cases could come to our area if people don't get vaccinated.

Another deadly disease comes to mind when thinking of this measles outbreak sweeping the country.

"Without a doubt very similar to Ebola," said Emergency Room Doctor Christine Braud.

The spread comes 14 years after the CDC declared the disease eradicated. Dr. Braud says this outbreak is because of a growing trend to not get vaccinated.

"With the increased population of unvaccinated individuals it has put the youngest of our population at greatest risk because they can't be vaccinated," said Dr. Braud.

Some fear vaccinations cause adverse reactions in kids, like autism. But doctors say that fear has no basis. "There have been multiple studies performed that have shown that that definitely is not the case," said Phoebe Putney Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Steve Kitchen.

Dr. Braud says the likelihood of a case in Southwest Georgia is more likely a 'when' and not 'if.' "If our current trend increases with our unvaccinated population then I think we can likely very well predict that there will be measles spread to this area."

Making preparation more important.

Jacqueline Jenkins, an epidemiologist, says most people have. vaccination rates in Southwest Georgia are near 100%, but there are still some people exposed to the dangerous disease.

"It can cause lifelong brain damage, deafness, and in some instances even death," said Jenkins.

Consequences Kitchen says are not worth risking. "The benefits of children receiving their vaccinations far far far outweighs any risk of having any serious adverse event," said Dr. Kitchen.

If you can't afford vaccines for either yourself or your children, Jenkins says the Department of Public Health has plenty they can give you.

Copyright  2015 WALB.  All rights reserved.