ROCHESTER, Minn. – Measles are making a comeback. According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there have been over 700 cases of measles in the U.S. this year alone. Two cases have been confirmed in Iowa.
The disease starts with a high fever but can quickly escalate to rashes, other serious illnesses, brain damage, and even death.
Dawn Beck is the Associate Director of Olmsted County Public Health. She encourages parents to protect their kids by getting the MMR vaccination. The message couldn’t come at a more appropriate time with April 27-May 4 being National Infant Immunization Week.
“It's much safer to get vaccinated than to get the actual disease. Because the long-term impact of some these childhood diseases can be very serious and sometimes deadly," she said.
Many people don’t believe in vaccinations, commonly believing that they can actually be harmful. But Beck said this isn’t the case. According to the CDC, the measles vaccine is 97% effective.
For Beck, it’s her daily work that made the decision to get her now adult kids immunized a no-brainer.
“Knowing what I know about public health, I knew it was my responsibility as a parent. And in my heart, I knew I wanted to protect my kids from those deadly diseases,” she said. “Parents! Take responsibility for your child, for your community, for yourselves, Just make sure your family's safe.”
Kids should get the MMR vaccination around 12-15 months old. They should then get a second dose around 4-6 years old.
Most insurances cover the cost of vaccines. However, there are free and low-cost options available. People in need of these options are encouraged to ask their physicians about them.
National Infant Immunization Week turns 25 this year during a measles outbreak. It started back in 1994 because of the spreading of the same disease. To learn more about the week click here.
To learn more about Measles and how to stay protected click here.