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Norwalk Pediatrician Discusses The Measles Vaccine

Dr. Jeanne Marconi says vaccination is critical

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Norwalk, CT | Added on February 11, 2015 At 08:59 AM

As the U.S. continues to experience a multi-state measles outbreak, unvaccinated individuals, particularly children are increasingly becoming more at risk. The CDC reports the outbreak, which is linked to a California amusement park, has infected 114 people from seven states since December 28th. Studies show measles is one of the most contagious viruses on earth with half a million deaths worldwide and with a ninety percent transmission rate, it's considered more contagious than Ebola because it can transmitted through the air. 

"The issue with the measles is it's highly contagious, so if you had one person in a room who had the measles and there were 10 people in the room, nine people would get the measles, and those people go out so it's just exponentially extremely contagious  and unfortunately you're contagious before you might have symptoms," said Marconi. 

In 2000 the U.S. declared measles was eliminated in the country, but since then the annual number ranged from 37 reported cases in 2004 to 644 by 2014. The disease can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis and death. Nationwide debates continue as parents are given a choice whether or not to vaccinate their child. 

"It's not a personal choice anymore, it's like having a weapon that you can hurt other people if not vaccinating your child and it's a huge philosophical dilemma that we're in at the moment." 

Dr. Jeanne Marconi, Managing and Pediatrician Partner at The Center for Advanced Pediatrics in Norwalk says widely-held stereotypes associated with the vaccination, including views that it could cause autism, are false.

"The vaccine had some issues in terms of a non-scientific scientist who promoted and was able to get a bandwagon of people to believe that there was some increased risk of autism with the vaccine which is extremely unfortunate and he's from Britain and caused a significant decrease in the number of British who took the vaccine and their measles numbers have increased since the study." 

Marconi says the consequences of not vaccinating put a huge risk on not only that child but others around them, especially unvaccinated pregnant women and those undergoing chemotherapy who cannot safely be vaccinated.

"The vaccine is greater than 90 precent effective and even though it's not 100 percent you do get some herd immunity, just from being around the population, but we lose that now. By not having measles in our circulation, we lose some of that heard immunity so where as before when there were certain people that weren't vaccinated, you might get herd immunity just because the disease had been in the neighborhood, but now since we almost eradicated it like smallpox there's penetrance of cases because we don't have anymore herd immunity."  

Studies show most of the recent cases originated when individuals contracted measles while outside the U.S. or after being exposed to someone who got measles while in another country. Marconi says if you think you've been exposed to measles, it's never too late to get vaccinated. For more information on measles and the vaccine visit CDC.gov.

 


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