KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – There have been over 100 cases of measles in the United States since the beginning of 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The majority are in Washington state, but an unrelated case has popped up in Kentucky.
“Most of the time it’s fairly benign,” said Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, an infectious disease specialist with Kettering Health Network. “You get fever, you get a rash, a cough, but about six percent of children who get measles die from measles.”
Dr. Weinstein said measles was practically eradicated in the United States, but now there are groups throughout the country choosing to not vaccinate their children.
The case in Kentucky is the most common story of contracting measles: an unvaccinated child travels to another country with a high measles rate, contracts it, then returns to the country.
Unvaccinated children are at the highest risk, but they can infect adults with weak immune systems.
“There’s been a lot of fear around some of the vaccines, essentially unfounded because every study, every valid scientific study that’s been done does not link vaccinations to things such as autism,” said Weinstein.
Weinstein said vaccination is the best protection, but is most effective when almost all of the children receive it.
And the case in Kentucky is a cause for some concern for Miami Valley residents because it’s a disease that easily travels.
“People can get exposed to measles and then they are actually asymptomatic for about six days but during that time period, they can be contagious to others before they have developed a rash.”