Health Beat

Health Beat: Measles vaccine: Do you need one?

SEATTLE - As soon as Bobbi Nodell realized she didn't remember having measles, she made an appointment to get the shot.

"I like to take every vaccination that's out there, because I want to stay healthy," said Nodell.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said measles is making a comeback because there are pockets of unvaccinated kids and adults. It's very contagious, and people who travel can carry the virus with them.

"The reason those communities are under-vaccinated range from beliefs about harm, potential harm of vaccines, to lack of access," said Dr. John Lynch, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The symptoms are high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a rash, but Lynch said the more people who are infected, the higher the chance of bad cases.

"Those complications include very serious outcomes, including death, including serious brain infections, as well as complications like severe pneumonia and even bad ear infections," Lynch continued.

Some people shouldn't get any, including pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems or those who have had a severe allergic reaction to any part of the vaccine. Lynch said it's safe for adults to get a shot if, like Nodell, they just want to be sure they're protected.

Lynch said the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccine, is safe and effective. A recent study of a half-million people in Denmark and several other studies showed no connection between the vaccine and autism, which is some parents' fear.


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