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Public Health Officials To Parents: Confirm Children's MMR Vaccination Status

Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid innoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas, circa 1939
John Vachon
The Library of Congress, no known copyright restrictions
Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid innoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas, circa 1939

Some Miami Valley health officials are urging parents to check their children's measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination status.

United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show there are more than 500 confirmed measles cases so far across the country this year in 20 states, mostly concentrated in communities of unvaccinated people.

It's the second-highest number of reported cases in the U.S. since 2000, when measles was eradicated.

Dr. Don Brannen is an epidemiologist with the Department of Public Health in Greene County, which is currently reporting no confirmed cases of the measles. But Brannen says it’s critical for parents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up to date.

“It's very important for people to be vaccinated because the vaccine has a very low risk and measles has a very high risk," he says. "Some of the effects of measles can be as severe as encephalitis and even death. So, we don't want to go back to the time when measles was endemic in our area and we had over 10,000 people a year die from measles.”

Montgomery and Clark Counties are also reporting no current cases of measles.

The highly contagious illness spreads through coughing and sneezing. It begins with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat and is followed by a rash that spreads over the body.

Measles complications can include ear infection, diarrhea, pneumonia, brain damage and death.

The CDC recommends all children get two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is proven to be safe, and 97 percent effective at preventing the illness.

Anyone needing assistance with vaccinations is urged to contact their county public health department for more information.

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.
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