A case of measles has been confirmed in Connecticut for the first time in 2019. This comes after an outbreak of the virus caused Washington State to declare a state of emergency.
New York also seeing a spike in measles cases.
Now, Rhode Island health officials are reminding parents of the importance of getting children vaccinated for the highly contagious virus.
The vaccination, known as MMR, helps prevent against measles, mumps, and rubella.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), recent data found 96 percent of young children from ages 19 to 35 months were vaccinated for measles in the state.
“This vaccine is safe and it’s effective. It’s been heavily tested from prior to when it was licensed and continues to get tested right along,” said Chief of the Office of Immunization at RIDOH, Tricia Washburn.
There are medical and religious exemptions that can prevent the vaccination from being administered.
The Department of Health says it can cause serious health complications, especially in children younger than 5-years-old. Although it is most common to get the MMR vaccination as a child, adults can get it administered by their doctor.
“I think it’s important to know that the more people that are vaccinated, the less likely the disease will spread,” Washburn said.
The contagious virus can be spread through coughing and sneezing.
Some parents are concerned about potential side effects the vaccination has, but health officials say it is, in fact, safe and can prevent a major outbreak from happening.
Dr. Nick Bennett is with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. He said the reason for the recent spikes in measles cases is that many parents believed the measles vaccine caused autism.
Officials said that is absolutely not true and that the study was flawed and a scam at the hands of an English doctor.
“He was not trying to say the measles vaccine causes autism. He was trying to say this vaccine causes autism and my vaccine won’t. He was totally discredited. He was struck off the medical register and he is not a doctor anymore,” Dr. Bennett said.
Doctors said the more people are vaccinated, the less chance the measles have of making a comeback.
The symptoms are red eyes, fever, cough, and a very nasty rash.
Doctors said people with measles are contagious for four days before they start showing symptoms.