Wichita doctors stress importance of measles vaccinations

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -

It's something doctors say could've been prevented, a measles outbreak across the country.

"It is your civic duty to not put others around you at risk,” said Amy Seery, Ascension Via Christi Pediatrician. “You have a way to prevent suffering from others in your community.”

That way? Getting vaccinated.

"Measles is one of the most preventable causes of infant mortality in the world, and it just doesn't make any sense for us to let that happen when we can prevent it,” Resident Physician Mylhan Myers added.

This map by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention shows the states that have recently been affected by measles.

Right now, Kansas doesn't have any cases; but doctors fear that might not last if vaccination rates keep dropping.

"Across the United States, we have at least 11 states that have dropped below 90 percent and that puts us all at significant risk,” Dr. Seery stated.  

Some doctors blame it on the social media push by groups of what's called antivaxxers, people who think vaccinations cause conditions like autism in children.

The measles virus spreads very easily; if you aren't vaccinated and is hard to treat. Symptoms include fever, rash, runny nose and red eyes. Pregnant women, diabetics, infants and people over the age of 20 are among those most susceptible.

“One in four people who get it, even if previously healthy, will end up in the hospital,” Seery explained. “One in 1,000 people will get a horrible brain inflammation that will cause horrible pain, swelling and death. And we know, one to two kids out of 1,000 who were previously healthy will get a very, very severe infection or pneumonia and will die from it."

If you were born before 1989, you may need a measles booster shot. If you're unsure, contact a doctor.