DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – There are over 700 confirmed measles cases in the United States, none in Ohio, but doctors say it could be just a matter of time.
The CDC says there are the highest number of measles cases in the U.S. since 1994.
“If we have over 95 percent vaccine coverage, i.e. immunity, it will be very difficult to introduce the disease,” said Dr. Sherman Alter, the chief infectious disease physician at Dayton Children’s. “But if you have less than that, and someone were to travel and bring measles with them, you risk an outbreak.”
Dr. Alter said this is exactly what is causing many outbreaks across the U.S.
He said he knows many families will be planning summer trips beginning this month, and said travel is a risk, especially to countries where measles is still prevalent.
“If I were to travel to a different country, I should get a booster, which I would,” said Alter. “If I’m an infant from 6-12 months of age, it’s recommended that baby get a shot as well if the baby is travelling, then come back and continue vaccine series.”
Alter said the medical community dreads measles because its so contagious.
It can linger on surfaces and easily infect those not vaccinated.
He said science proves the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any possible risk.
“Measles can have serious consequences, can result in pneumonia, unfortunately can cause encephalitis and, in uncommon cases, it can occur in death.”