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How to stay protected amid measles outbreak

Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 17:59:19-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 159 individual cases of measles across 10 states.

"It is currently not in Kansas City, we hope we can keep it from getting to Kansas City," said Dr. Jennifer McBride, Truman Medical Center.

As cases of the measles continue to rise, McBride is spreading a message.

"It's not going to take long for it to start creeping across the entire nation, especially with the low vaccination rates," said McBride.

The CDC said the most alarming outbreak is in the Pacific Northwest where more than 40 percent of all U.S. cases have occurred. Almost all cases were unvaccinated children.

"People who get the measles have been unvaccinated," said McBride.

In 2000, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. Nationally, 91 percent of children younger than three are vaccinated for measles, but in some communities, the rate is declining. McBride credits conspiracy theories and misinformation.

"There's a population that are pretty firm in their standing that they do not want vaccinations for their children," said McBride.

McBride said anyone that has been vaccinated shouldn't worry about the outbreak, even if traveling to an area with confirmed cases.

"If you've been vaccinated, you know you've been vaccinated, you've had documentation of your vaccination, you do not need a booster," said McBride.

If you are unsure, or don't have documentation, McBride said doctors will test to see if you are immune before giving you the vaccination. It's called the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine. McBride said if you get it, it is a 97 percent lifetime immunity. If you don't, she worries measles will continue to spread.

"I am concerned and I'm nervous that by the end of this year we will probably see it creep across the United States and we'll start seeing children in the hospitals and schools having to turn children away because they're not vaccinated due to outbreaks," said McBride.