SD Doctor Stresses Importance Of Vaccines Following Measles Outbreak In Minnesota

In 2014, South Dakota saw 13 cases of the measles and one more case in 2015. Now Minnesota is dealing with their own outbreak. The state Health Department there has confirmed 24 cases and almost all of them have something in common. Those infected were never vaccinated.

It may be that some don’t know the recommendations for shots or don’t have access to care. Others just don’t believe in them. There are many reasons for not getting vaccinated, but Dr. Katie Larson says they are putting people at risk who can’t get them.

Larson said, “If, for instance, they have Leukemia or some other disease that makes them immunocompromised those children, unfortunately, aren’t able to get vaccines like the Measles, Mumps and Rubella, because it’s a live vaccine.”

Others simply aren’t old enough. The Pediatric Doctor at Sanford Health says the first round of the MMR vaccine is given to children around 12 to 15 months of age, and then a booster to those 4 to 6-years-old.

“Vaccines are absolutely one of the most important things you can do to keep your kid healthy,” said Larson.

Larson says it can take up to the three weeks for symptoms to occur. It begins with just a fever.  A cough, eye irritation, and runny nose then start to develop, followed by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. She says the virus is highly contagious, and can be spread with just a cough.

Larson said, “If you’re in the waiting room for up to two hours after a patient who has had measles has been in there, you can catch the disease.”

Larson says once someone gets the virus, there’s not a lot they can do to treat it.

“We don’t have a whole lot to offer,” said Larson.

Larson says the measles virus is also very dangerous. It can lead to hospitalization or even death. Another concern: it can cause brain damage.

If you’re not sure if you’ve gotten the vaccine. Larson says contact your doctor and they can figure it out for you.

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