Patient receives measles vaccine. (AP GraphicsBank)
CLAY COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -
There is a confirmed case of measles in the metro.
Clay County says an unvaccinated baby contracted the virus while overseas and has been treated and released at a Kansas City hospital.
Household members of the infant's family have begun receiving the appropriate vaccinations. The infant does not attend any daycare setting. The investigation is ongoing.
Immunization is a personal choice that could mean the difference between life and death for a child. Stephanie Kates admits she struggled with that decision.
"I was very unsure about whether we were going to vaccinate or not. The things you hear about autism, side effects and all of that," she said.
A small but growing number of parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children because of similar concerns.
Dr. Philip Abraham, a pediatrician with University of Kansas Hospital, says those claims were already proved false.
"We are seeing parents misinformed of the truth of vaccinations," Abraham said.
Abraham says vaccines have helped eliminate diseases. Measles, he says, is now 99 percent eradicated in the United States.
"Speaking from studies that are validated, I have no reason to any the vaccines are not effective. They are completely effective," Abraham said.
Kates came to the same conclusion.
"Having done my research, I believe it is the right isn't to get vaccinated," she said.
Measles kills an estimated 164,000 people each year around the world. The U.S. is having more reported cases of measles this year than usual. Most of these cases are associated with international travel.
This year, 187 cases have already been reported in 17 states in the U.S., including Missouri.
Although highly contagious, it is still fortunately rare in the United States.
While most residents in the U.S. have been protected through vaccination, it's important for everyone to know their vaccination status and be aware of the signs and symptoms, which typically begin one to two weeks after someone is exposed to an infected person.
"We are reminded once again about the importance of making sure both adults and children are properly vaccinated. Please make sure your vaccinations are up to date to protect yourself and help prevent the spread of disease, especially among those in our community who are most vulnerable," urged Gary E. Zaborac, director of Public Health for Clay County.
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