HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — There are reports of cases of the measles in ten different states throughout the country. So far, none of those are in Virginia, but a professor at James Madison University said there is still reason to be concerned.
Those most vulnerable are children under one who are too young to get the vaccine.
Dr. Tammy Kiser is an assistant professor of nursing at JMU and said those who are not vaccinated against the measles have a 90% chance of contracting it when they come into contact with someone who has it. She said a lot of this is spread through traveling.
"You don't know who else on that airplane may have a measles virus, so if you're not immunized, you're probably going to get it," said Kiser.
Dr. Kiser said the measles are different from the mumps outbreak last year. She said this is not a case of the vaccine not working, which was the case then, but people not being vaccinated.
"As we get a growing community throughout the United States that are not immunizing, then that's how we're getting higher numbers of people that are at risk and that's when we're seeing the outbreaks, so it's not people who are already immunized that are getting the measles," said Kiser.
The measles can impact anyone at any age. Dr. Kiser said since it is a virus, there is no quick cure.
"You're going to treat the symptoms and then hope that it doesn't, you know, the symptoms don't become something worse," said Kiser.
Symptoms to look out for are
• Runny nose, cough, red eyes.
• High fever
• Red rash that starts from the head and works its way down the body.
Those who are most vulnerable are small children, especially those who are under the age of one, because they are too young for the vaccine.
"I think it's a lack of knowledge on people's parts that they're not vaccinating their children. They're putting their children at risk, they're putting other people's children at risk," said Kiser.
Anyone over the age of one can get the MMR vaccine if they have not already, so they are protected.
"The side effects of the measles vaccine are very, very mild and so it is not one you need to be concerned about," said Kiser.
If you think your child has the measles, contact a pediatrician immediately to schedule a time and the best way to meet with them. You may be required to come in a different entrance than other patients because the disease is so contagious.